Senior prosecutor to handle TMPD corruption case

Henry

AfriForum’s private prosecution unit is delighted with the National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA) decision to appoint senior prosecutor adv. Rachelle van der Walt to lead the case against three officers of the Tshwane Metro Police.

Emmanuel Thovhakale, Michael Soomo and Lerato Molope are facing charges of corruption and extortion. However, additional charges are expected to be added to their indictment.

The three quickly appeared in the Pretoria Regional Court after which the case was adjourned to give Van der Walt a chance to help the investigating officer complete the investigation.

Uvaldi Theologo, the alleged victim, and Grandi Theunissen, Tshwane mayoral committee member for community safety, have given the private prosecution unit a vigilance assignment in this case.

Theunissen was also a witness to the incident.

According to Barry Bateman, spokesperson for AfriForum’s private prosecution unit, this is one of several cases in which officials from the metro police are involved and in which this unit was approached by complainants to ensure justice and accountability.

He says it is alleged that Theologo was pulled over by the three accused on 10 July 2022 while she was driving on Solomon Mahlangu Drive.

“She claims that the officers accused her of driving her vehicle without an officially stamped permit, after which they demanded R3 000 in cash from her to prevent her car from being taken away.”

Apparently Theologo must have had a dealer’s stamp for the vehicle she was driving.

“Theologo says the officers followed her to an ATM, but she was unable to withdraw the cash. She claims the accused then followed her home and got a mobile phone number to which she had to transfer R3 000 using an eWallet facility.”

Bateman says that while the officers were busy with Theologo on the side of the road, Theunissen, who happened to be driving by, stopped to find out if everything was alright.

“He introduced himself as the mayoral committee member for community safety; at this stage the officers are said to have not yet demanded a bribe from Theologo.

“The officers assured Theunissen that they were carrying out their duties as expected of them. Theologo contacted Theunissen after this incident and told him what happened after he left. Theunissen encouraged her to open a case against these three officers and further supported her with that.”

Adv. Gerrie Nel, head of the private prosecution unit, praised the NPA for its decision to assign this case to Van der Walt.

“I am confident that the state has a strong case and that a seasoned prosecutor with many years of experience has been assigned to handle it.

“To put an end to corruption within law enforcement agencies, it is imperative that those accused of such crimes are convicted and sentenced appropriately.

“A climate of impunity allows corruption to flourish,” he says.

Nel says that Theunissen’s involvement is not only crucial for the case, “but for every matter where such allegations are faced by metro police officials”.

“The scourge of corruption can only be eradicated where there is political will and tenacity of leadership within law enforcement agencies. Fortunately, mayoral committee member Theunissen fulfills that role,” says Nel.