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21 Free State police officers to appear in court for corruption, money laundering and other charges

21 Free State police officers to appear in court for corruption, money laundering and other charges

The South African Police Service (SAPS) said on Wednesday, 22 of its members based in the Free State were arrested for corruption, money laundering and other charges and will appear in the Welkom Magistrates' Court on Friday, 12 September.

The members, two captains, five warrant officers, two sergeants, 12 constables and an administration clerk, from Thabong and Welkom, were from the following units - the Detective Service, Visible Policing, the Flying Squad, Social Crime Prevention, the Client Service Centre, Public Order Policing and the Organised Crime Unit of the Hawks.

They were arrested by a multidisciplinary team comprising of officers from Crime Intelligence and the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks), in conjunction with local Free State police.

“The members are mainly accused of having contravened some sections of the Precious Metals Act, Act 37 of 2005, and defeating the ends of justice. They will also face charges of theft, corruption and money laundering,” SAPS said in a statement. 

“The members were not necessarily working together in the commission of these crimes. Eighteen criminal cases were opened against them. The investigation team kept them under surveillance for some time after concerns were raised by the community.”

SAPS said that, during the operation, four vehicles allegedly used during the commission of these crimes were confiscated. The lifestyles of these members will be audited and internal disciplinary procedures will follow.

"These arrests will contribute towards the positive economic transformation of this province," said the Free State Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant General Thabethe Mpembe.

The National Head of the Hawks, Lieutenant General Anwa Dramat, applauded the team for their sterling work.

The National Commissioner, General Riah Phiyega, has indicated that, although she is pleased with the progress made by the multi-disciplinary investigation team, she is deeply disappointed that police members have been arrested for their involvement in criminal activities.

"Congratulations to the Free State Provincial Commissioner and the entire team involved in the investigation for a job well done. The SAPS management team and I remain resolute about fighting crime within the SAPS. I can assure members of the public that, as we transform and professionalize the SAPS, we will deal harshly with criminality within the police," she said late this afternoon.