Syndicate suspects granted bail

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Johannesburg - Two traffic cops and a South African Receiver of Revenue (Sars) official accused of targeting foreign-owned businesses and robbing them of substantial amounts of cash have been granted bail.

On Tuesday, Sipho Mokate, 38, Neo Rampete, 40, from the Gauteng traffic police, Sydney Radebe, 41, and Thulani Sihlangu, 26, appeared in the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court in connection with corruption, fraud, racketeering, robbery and house-breaking.

The were released on R10 000 bail and the case was postponed to July 30.

The suspects stood huddled next to each other as their lawyers read out their affidavits in court.

Police are alleging that the four men are part of two syndicates linked to each other and that operated in Florida, the city centre, Langlaagte, Boksburg and Randburg.

It also emerged in court that Sihlangu and Radebe were facing similar charges in the Randburg Magistrate’s Court.

They were both out on bail of R30 000 each.

The syndicate allegedly produced fake search warrants from Sars and its members were allegedly accompanied by police on their robberies.

The police officers allegedly produced their appointment cards and, once the business people opened for them, they were accosted and robbed.

The two alleged syndicates were uncovered by a national investigation unit formed by national police commissioner General Riah Phiyega last year.

Phiyega put the unit together after Chinese, Somali and Pakistani businesses were robbed of large amounts of cash.

Since its inception, it has arrested 11 suspects, including four police officers, two of whom have subsequently been dismissed, while another two are still undergoing a disciplinary process.

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