A Daily Sun journalist who reportedly took pictures of police officers allegedly accepting bribes in Rustenburg was receiving death threats, North West Premier Thandi Modise’s office said on Sunday.
Ricky Dire allegedly received two SMSes threatening to kill his family unless he withdrew his disclosure to the Daily Sun and the police that he was harassed, assaulted and arrested, Modise said in a statement.
She called for the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) to investigate the matter.
“If the allegations are found to be true, then those involved should be immediately suspended and stripped of their uniform,” said Modise.
“Police have to work very hard on their image to inspire and regain public confidence after recent tragedies experienced in our province viewed by some as acts of police brutality.
“They should realise that their conduct is under public scrutiny and strive to be above reproach,” said Modise.
Deputy editor Reggy Moalusi said Dire was arrested and assaulted on January 18 after he was found taking photographs of police allegedly receiving bribes from Chinese shop owners.
The shop owners had called Dire, complaining that police had been harassing them and constantly asking for bribes.
“They (the police) assaulted him and they were insulting him,” Moalusi said.
“We got our lawyers involved... and he was only released five hours later.”
Dire's cellphone had been confiscated and the pictures in question were reportedly deleted.
Police spokeswoman Sergeant Kealeboga Molale said at the time that the arresting officers had laid charges of intimidation, crimen injuria and resisting arrest against Dire.
“The journalist was arrested because he was insulting the police and when they tried to arrest him, he resisted,” Molale said.
“The incident happened at a complex where there is a bottle store. The journalist was allegedly drunk.”
Molale said police were not aware of the alleged bribe incident.
Moalusi said the newspaper had spoken to Dire, who claimed he was sober.
“He also says he never resisted arrest.” - Sapa