By Jane Sithole, MPL, Spokesperson on Community Safety and Security:
The DA calls for the immediate suspension of the K9 police officers who were arrested on Tuesday (7/12/2015) for allegedly stealing R50 000 from suspects who were found with illicit cigarettes.
According to media reports, the eight police officers from the Lydenburg Dog Unit were arrested by the Hawks and charged with various crimes including corruption, defeating the ends of justice and assault causing grievous bodily harm. It was reported that the officers allegedly stopped a car which had illicit cigarettes and over a half million rand in it. The officers then locked up the suspects and confiscated the cash, but R50 000 allegedly was unaccounted for when the cash was handed over to the owners.
The DA is concerned by the increasing number of police officers who are involved in criminal activities, not just in Mpumalanga, but the whole country. There can never be justification for law enforcement officer to be involved in criminal activities. Citizens have had enough of police officers who are tainting the good work done by those who are committed to their oath, which is to serve and protect and actions like this should be condemned by all corners of society.
We call on the MEC for safety and Security, Vusi Shongwe, to immediately suspend the K9 police officers until their court case is finalised. If found guilty, they must be dismissed from the force. The arrested eight K9 unit officers were expected to appear in the Lydenburg Magistrate Court on Tuesday.
The country needs a corrupt free South African Police Services (SAPS). In 2010, the DA made a proposal to clean up the SAPS. The proposal included some of the following points:
- Police officials serving in leadership positions, but also facing serious criminal charges or investigations, need, where appropriate, to be suspended, asked to resign, or be removed from office.
- Performance agreements should be enforced and those who did not deliver should not be kept on in the police service.
- The recruitment process of police officers should be decentralised, all new recruits should undergo psychometric testing and appointments should be made on merit.
We cannot sit idle and watch while a few corrupt individuals ruin the reputation of our police men and women. It is our responsibility to build a country where people are safe from crime. A country where all are equal before the law, regardless of who you are. Corruption eats away at our people’s opportunities and it needs to be tackled head on for our province and our country to prosper.