He is also facing murder charge

Riot Hlatshwayo

A Mpumalanga policeman attached to the KaNyamazane police station and his alleged accomplice appeared briefly in the Nelspruit magistrates' court yesterday on charges of armed robbery and murder.

Constable Mlungisi Mthembu, 29, and Skhumbuzo Khati, 28, were not asked to plead.

Magistrate Annemarie van der Merwe said the two men would appear with two other suspects in the same case.

"You are being added as accused three and four on charges of armed robbery and murder, so you will return to court together with the other two," Van der Merwe told the men.

Mthembu and Khati were each granted bail of R2000 and their case was postponed to August 3 for further investigations.

The two first said they would conduct their own defence, but later opted to appoint representatives.

They were arrested following a botched armed robbery in which three robbers were shot dead in Nelspruit more than a week ago.

"We have established that the cop was responsible for supplying police uniform to the criminals and we are looking into the possibility of linking the suspects to other similar criminal activities," said Mpumalanga police spokesman Captain Leonard Hlathi.

Hlathi said the policeman would be suspended with immediate effect and without pay.

He warned that the police would not tolerate crime committed by other police officers.

Mthembu is attached to a police station that has attracted attention for the wrong reasons.

The Independent Complaints Directorate is investigating more than 20 criminal cases allegedly committed by police officers at the station over the past three years.

The cases include murder, aiding of prisoners to escape, assault, incompetency and several other offences.

President Thabo Mbeki declared the station a presidential lead project police station in 1999.