Frank Maponya

Frank Maponya

Police officers in Groblersdal, Limpopo, are in hot water after allegations that they arrested and later released suspects who were being sought in connection with taxi-related violence in the area.

Four suspects were arrested in the area on Friday but three of them were released the following day under mysterious circumstances.

The fourth man appeared in the Middelburg magistrate's court yesterday in connection with the murder of taxi operators in the area.

It was later discovered that the released suspects were the people the police were looking for.

Provincial police spokesman Superintendent Mohale Ramatseba confirmed yesterday that they were investigating the circumstances under which the suspects were released.

He said anyone found to have been involved in the controversial release would face the full might of the law.

"Those who were involved should know that their deeds will catch up with them," Ramatseba said.

He noted that the area had been afflicted by taxi violence for a long time.

"This kind of behaviour is not going to be tolerated, especially not when it is done by law enforcement officers," he said.

The arrests followed an incident on Friday in which an unidentified man was shot and killed while he was in the company of a woman.

The woman was unharmed.

The dead man, 45, was abducted at Zaaiplaas village and found with a bullet wound to the head at GaTshehla village on Saturday morning.

A taxi operator, Jerry Mahlangu, was shot while opening the gate to his house on Sunday last week.

Groblersdal Taxi Association chairman Elias Ntuli yesterday said: "We had thought our nightmare would be over following the arrest of the men. But what happened leaves much to be desired."