'Metro cops on the take'

Metro police allegedly demanded R500 protection money from a shoe trader in Johannesburg this week, and plundered his wares when he refused to pay.

Metro police allegedly demanded R500 protection money from a shoe trader in Johannesburg this week, and plundered his wares when he refused to pay.

This was according to the South African National Traders' Retail Alliance (Santra).

The body's spokesman Edmund Elias said yesterday that officers also took cash from Richard Dlamini Mkantso during a visit to Park Central Shopping Centre in Johannesburg on Tuesday.

Elias said metro police offered R100 to Mkantso when he and Santra chairman Livingstone Mantanga met them yesterday.

"Mkantso refused to accept it, claiming that thousands of rands were taken," Elias said.

"At 1pm [yesterday] stock was returned. But the cash and some stock remains missing."

Mkantso was not required to pay any fine "as he was trading from private property".

Inspector Edna Mamonyane said Mkantso should lodge a complaint with the force's internal affairs department, particularly if he could identify the officers.

Elias said the entire mayoral committee had for six years been informed of similar incidents.

The reports pointed to the presence of "a very substantial untouchable criminal syndicate" operating within the Johannesburg metro police, he said.

Elias said unconstitutional bylaws that allowed for the grabbing of possessions without a warrant by lowly-paid officers was the primary reason behind "this ongoing state of affairs". - Sapa

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