Get IOL's cool new iPad app...
Durban - Award-winning kwaito star Mkhonzeni “Professor” Langa may be criminally charged for turning up at the MetroFM Music Awards in Durban at the weekend wearing what appeared to be a local metro police uniform.
Late on Sunday, the police had fielded several queries about the outfit after pictures of the kwaito singer, complete with an authentic-looking blue and white chequered hat, appeared prominently in Sunday newspapers.
Durban metro police spokesman Eugene Msomi confirmed the incident warranted investigating.
“Metro police are established in terms of the SAPS Act. If it is true that Professor was wearing the uniform, it is a criminal offence. Even if he was granted permission to do so, it comes with certain conditions,” Msomi said.
The SAPS Act of 1995 says that it is an offence for any non-member to wear the uniform or any part thereof (including the badge), unless granted permission by the office of the provincial or national commissioner.
Transgressors may face a fine or up to six months in prison.
Anyone convicted of impersonating a police officer risks up to two years in jail.
The awards ceremony, which was broadcast live on television and in which Professor took top honours in two categories, was attended by politicians including eThekwini mayor James Nxumalo and government ministers.
The singer seems to have a penchant for law enforcement dress, having worn what closely resembled a police tactical response team uniform at the 2011 MTN SA Music Awards.
Msomi said he doubted Professor’s get-up was okayed by authorities. Such concessions were usually granted for films, under supervision, and the police considered the “message” being put across.
If the kwaito star had been given the uniform by a metro police officer, or had borrowed it, the officer would be in breach of standing orders, Msomi said.
The matter is to be referred to the metro police professional standards inspectorate.
The Mercury could not reach Professor or his management for comment.
Nxumalo also could not be reached.
Recent police seizures of traffic officials’ uniforms in Gauteng and Pietermaritzburg have raised questions about how easy it seems to be to come by police uniforms.
A staff communiqué on the police website, posted last year, urges officers to return their old or worn uniforms (including shirts and shoes) and rank insignia to the police stores department when new items are issued.
It also reminds them that their official dress may not be given or lent to their family members or friends.