13 Western Cape police officers arrested for lockdown skulduggery

Thirteen police officers were arrested in the Western Cape on corruption charges this week.
Thirteen police officers were arrested in the Western Cape on corruption charges this week.

Police in the Western Cape are cracking down on corruption within their ranks, with 13 officers arrested so far this week.

The latest arrests were made on Wednesday when three constables aged 27, 33 and 34 were arrested in Khayelitsha.

“It is alleged the members took a bribe from an e-hailing services driver in Cape Town after they accused him of operating illegally. They appeared in the Cape Town magistrate’s court today and were granted bail,” said Western Cape police spokesperson Brig Novela Potelwa.

The three officers were attached to Cape Town Central Police Station, and according to a source the Uber driver reported their conduct to the police after the members told him to place R500 on the back seat of the police van they were driving.

In Paarl East, a  sergeant and two constables appeared in court for bribery after they demanded money from a businessman who was allegedly selling cigarettes in contravention of Covid-19 lockdown regulations.

According to Potelwa, the officers promised not to arrest the businessman if he paid them a certain amount of money.

“He turned down the offer and advised the police officials to take the consignment of cigarettes. They left with the cigarettes but later booked in the consignment as abandoned. In an operation, the three were arrested last night and appeared in court today,” said Potelwa.

On Wednesday, two warrant officers, three sergeants, a constable and another officer were arrested for trying to sell confiscated cigarettes back to a shop owner in Bellville.

The members were part of the police's national intervention team deployed in Cape Town as part of Operation Lockdown, which was set up last year to curb gang violence.

The alleged incident happened last Thursday when police took possession of a consignment of cigarettes which they obtained during a raid on a store.

“The police members are alleged to have arranged to meet with the owner elsewhere and offered to give the cigarettes back in exchange for cash. Their offer was turned down and the owner reported the matter to Bellville police,” said Potelwa.

The seven officers, aged between 28 and 48, appeared in court on Wednesday after their arrest the same day, according to Potelwa.

In a statement, Western Cape provincial police commissioner Lt-Gen Yolisa Matakata “decried the involvement of police in crime”. 

“It is disheartening that the very same people entrusted to uphold the law get involved in crime. We will not be deterred in cleaning up this organisation,” said Matakata.

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