Alex Matlala and Chester Makana
A senior police officer has closed ranks behind four of his staffers who allegedly had sex with prostitutes "on credit".
The officers have allegedly refused to pay for the services rendered.
Yesterday the officers were embroiled in a bitter exchange of words with the prostitutes when they came to collect their money.
The incident took place at the entrance to the University of Venda where a Limpopo ANC conference is taking place.
Senior Superintendent Motlafela Mojapelo said prostitution was illegal.
"The South African Police Service could not entertain the claims by the prostitutes because even if it were true they were owed money by the police, it would be a civil matter between two people involved in an illegal activity," he said.
Two prostitutes were injured in the scuffle with the police.
The prostitutes, aged between 16 and 25, are lining Mphephu Drive in Thohoyandou.
They are dressed in revealing miniskirts and short tops to attract delegates using the street to the conference.
"We went to the gate to demand the money they owe us but instead we were chased away," claimed one of them who introduced herself only as Lutendo.
She said four police officers had sex with them on "credit" on Monday and Tuesday.
They (police) allegedly claimed they would pay them on Wednesday when they received their monthly salaries.
The girls allegedly charged R50 for one session and R200 without a condom.
Mojapelo said the business rendered by prostitutes was harmful for conference delegates and the tourism industry in the province.
Spokesman for the provincial health department Phuti Seloba said yesterday prostitutes were sex hawkers like street hawkers who sell their vegetables on the street.
He said his department was distributing condoms at the conference.
The prostitutes said they could not open a case because they did not want it to be known that they were working as sex-workers.