Traffic cops nabbed for bribery ring targeting tourists

The Hawks in Mpumalanga have warned that there will be more arrests of police and traffic officers who demand bribes from motorists.
The Hawks in Mpumalanga have warned that there will be more arrests of police and traffic officers who demand bribes from motorists.
Image: 123RF/ scanrail

Acting Mpumalanga Hawks head Brig Obed Ngwenya on Sunday welcomed the arrest of four traffic officials and two police officers on Friday for allegedly soliciting bribes from motorists, saying more arrests were imminent.

The six were arrested by the Hawks’ Serious Corruption Investigation in collaboration with the National Traffic Anti-Corruption Unit.

The Hawks said traffic officials Khethiwe Mkhabela, 42, Lucky Mabena, 37, and police officer David Mahlare Ntuli, 34, were arrested in Malelane and appeared before the Komatipoort Magistrate’s Court on the same day for alleged corruption. 

“They were granted R1,000 bail each and they will appear at the same court on July 12 2019 pending further investigations.”

The Hawks said three other suspects – two traffic officials and a police sergeant – who were also arrested later of Friday, will appear in Middelburg and Belfast Magistrate’s Courts respectively on Monday. 

"It is alleged that since April this year, the suspects solicited bribes from the motorists along the N4, between Komatipoort and Middleburg.  The Hawks together with the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) cooperated in gathering evidence against the suspects." 

It was established during a two-month investigation that the suspects were operating with impunity demanding bribes from unsuspecting tourists, threatening them that they would be arrested if they failed to pay the bribes, the Hawks said.

Ngwenya warned other law enforcers to refrain from engaging in any criminal activities, saying corruption undermined the rule of law.

“We are determined to fight corruption wherever and whenever it manifests. We hope the arrest of six members would send a strong message to colleagues that corruption would not be tolerated,” Ngwenya said.

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