The Department of Transport has confirmed that they have suspended an official who was caught stealing a cellphone. The footage was captured via CCTV footage Picture: Screengrab / Yusuf Abramjee / Twitter

Durban - A traffic official who was caught on CCTV camera stealing a cellphone at a food outlet has been suspended. 

The Department of Transport has confirmed that the officer had been given a letter of suspension and the matter is pending an internal investigation. A criminal case has also been instituted by police. The officer is believed to be from the Public Transport Enforcement Unit (PTES – also known as Shanela),

Department head, Sibusiso Gumbi, said they have launched their own internal investigation and have met with the establishment's management to verify the authenticity of the video before deciding on whether or not they will take tougher action against the officer who in full uniform. 

According to the department, the officer has since taken leave however he was served with a notice of suspension while he was on leave.

“The traffic officer’s suspension follows a letter written by the department last week in order to afford him the opportunity to give his version of the story and for him to give reasons as to why he should not be suspended,” he said.

Gumbi said the department viewed the footage in a serious light as the alleged action by the traffic officer tarnished the image of the department and discredited the moral standing of enforcement authorities in public. 

“Law enforcement officers by virtue of their oath, must be beyond reproach and must always be exemplary, even when they are off duty. This suspension will send a strong message that this department will not tolerate corruption and all forms of crime. We are also working in collaboration with the police to

ensure that the finalization of this matter is expedited,” said Gumbi.

He said moving forward, more scrutiny will be given to the conduct of enforcement officers to ensure improved moral and ethical standard in their work and in public. 

“The department has vowed to act against any traffic officer who is involved in fraud and corruption,” Gumbi said. 

The Mercury