In another twist involving the public protector’s office‚ the Minister of Co-operative Governance an.
The four policemen attached to the Krugersdorp organised crime unit who were arrested on drug charges on Monday fear prison so much that they pleaded to be released on bail yesterday.
"It would be dangerous for me to be kept in jail. I am responsible for the arrest of many dangerous criminals, some of whom are still awaiting trial in jails across the country," said head of the unit Senior Superintendent Dumisani Jwara in an affidavit read out in court by his attorney Nardus Grove.
The four - Jwara, captains Landro Mokgosani, Chaipus Shange and Victor Juili - appeared in the Roodepoort magistrate's court yesterday on charges of dealing in drugs, defeating the ends of justice and fraud.
It is alleged that they stole drugs from crime scenes, especially those confiscated at OR Tambo International Airport. It's further alleged that they supplied the drugs to dealers across the country.
Jwara said he had a previous conviction of common assault for which he got a suspended sentence in 2000. "I arrested another man for drugs, and if I am kept in jail the trial will not continue in the Wynburg magistrate's court," Jwara said.
He told the court that he had been a teacher in Mpumalanga in 1988 before he joined the police force a year later. He is divorced and has five children aged between 10 months and 22 years. He currently lives with his fiancee in Randburg.
Mokgosani, a divorced father of five, said in his affidavit: "My life will be in danger if I remain in custody. I could be harmed or killed by dangerous criminals I have arrested since I joined the police force. I have previously received death threats."
Making their bail applications, Shange and Juili also said their lives would be in danger if they were kept in prison. Juili was convicted and fined for negligent driving in the 1990s. He is married with two children.
Shange, who has no previous convictions, said: "I have not been told how I am implicated in these case."
He is married and has three children aged between two and 20.
The officers told the court that they intended pleading not guilty to all charges.
Prosecutor Michelle Bayat said the state had sensitive evidence and they would be opposing bail.
Magistrate Delise Smit postponed the case to tomorrow when the state is expected to present its case. The suspects are being held at the Johannesburg Central police station.