Commander made us strip - Officers in 'strip-search' ordeal

Four officers, two women and two men, claim they were strip-searched by other cops. /JAMES OATWAY
Four officers, two women and two men, claim they were strip-searched by other cops. /JAMES OATWAY

Four Soweto police officers have spoken out about their humiliating ordeal after they were ordered to strip naked before being searched by their colleagues.

The strip-search on the four was allegedly ordered by the Dobsonville police station commander last month.

The four were accused of stealing money from a suspect they had apprehended for drug dealing.

The incident has apparently embarrassed the officers to the level that they have not been coming to work.

They have since taken up their matter with police management. The officers, who spoke on condition of anonymity, claimed their station commander, Sipho Ngubane, instructed their six colleagues to strip-search them in front of the suspect and community members.

The four - two women and two men - were then taken to separate offices where they were allegedly ordered to take off their uniforms and underwear. The officers told Sowetan yesterday the incident had left them humiliated.

"The suspect complained that we stole some of his money but we didn't," said one of the officers.

"He said he had R4000. A community member who was at the station with our commander said she gave her husband, who was a passenger in the suspect's car, R6000 to stock up on nyaope, while they mentioned an additional R2900.

"The brigadier took us to a separate room along with one of the complainants and told us to take off our uniforms," said the officer.

The complainant, according to the officer, told the station commander he was not satisfied as he believed the officers could have hidden the money in their underwear.

Another officer said they have since become the laughing stock of their colleagues.

One of the officers has been admitted to hospital with depression while others have taken leave of absence.

South African Police Union provincial deputy chairman Peter Ntime demanded the immediate removal of Ngubane.

Ngubane declined to comment, saying the matter was being investigated. Police spokeswoman Brigadier Mathapelo Peters said an urgent investigation into the matter was under way.

"This investigation is at an advanced stage, where the appointed investigation officer is expected to advise the provincial commissioner about the outcome of the investigation in due course," Peters said.