A high-ranking KwaZulu-Natal police official was caught driving a stolen car in 2019 and still has not been charged. I Siyabulela Duda.
A high-ranking KwaZulu-Natal police official was caught driving a stolen car in 2019 and still has not been charged. I Siyabulela Duda.

Top KZN cop caught in stolen car in 2019 has not been charged

By Thabo Makwakwa Time of article published Oct 6, 2021

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DURBAN - A HIGH-RANKING KwaZulu-Natal police officer allegedly caught driving a stolen Mercedes Benz GLA 200 with a fake registration has still not been charged despite damning evidence against her following an internal police investigation.

An investigation report, finalised in April 2019, seen by the Daily News recommended that two charges of gross misconduct be brought against her.

According to the report, in February 2019, during an undercover operation by the SAPS, Brigadier Shireen Albert, a senior manager in the KZN SAPS, was caught in possession of a stolen vehicle during a roadblock near Isipingo. After examining the vehicle, the report said it was established that the vehicle registration was fake and the car had been reported stolen in Chatsworth in 2016. Further, the vehicle was allegedly fraudulently registered to Albert and according to Mercedes-Benz in Durban, it had no service record with the company.

The SAPS investigation team had recommended Albert be charged for contravening the SAPS discipline regulations:

  • Charge 1: “As provided for in Regulation 5 (3) (t) of the South African Police Service (SAPS) Discipline regulations, Brigadier Albert conducted herself in a disgraceful and or/unacceptable manner when she was found in possession of a stolen vehicle.”
  • Charge 2: “She committed serious misconduct in that during 2017 in Durban, she failed to comply with or contravened an Act Regulation or legal obligation when she operated the motor vehicle in contravention of the rules governing the flexible portion ‘A senior manager must obtain and maintain comprehensive insurance on the vehicle and is fully responsible for all running and maintenance costs of the cost of registering and licensing the vehicle’.”

Brigadier B Sibiya, who conducted the investigation and recommended the charges, confirmed knowledge of the report and said that he had provided it to the KZN provincial office after compiling it two years ago.

When the Daily News probed whether a criminal case had been opened and whether disciplinary action was taken against Albert, provincial police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbele initially requested details of the report, but later said she could not comment because it was an internal matter.

Approached for comment, Brigadier Albert questioned the timing of the leaked report and said she was innocent.

“I am just wondering why this matter is resurfacing now. There is no criminal or internal investigation going on. I was informed by my immediate commander that the matter was dropped.”

She said she would provide documentation regarding the issue, but had not done so by the time of publication.

Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union provincial secretary Nthabeleng Molefe expressed shock and said the union would demand answers from the SAPS.

Institute for Security Studies policing researcher Johan Burger criticised the SAPS for failing to hold its officials accountable.

“The SAPS disciplinary system is failing dismally. This failure was again exposed on August 17, 2021, when Ipid (Independent Police Investigative Directorate) gave a presentation to Parliament's portfolio committee on police. To cite just one example: of the 686 cases where Ipid recommended disciplinary action, only 41 or 6% resulted in such action being taken by the SAPS.”

Sharon Hoosen, the DA’s spokesperson for Community Safety and Liaison, called on the provincial police commissioner to “step up, show leadership and act on the matter”.

Daily News

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