The South African Police Service (SAPS) on Friday said it was investigating the use of a marked State vehicle for personal use by an on-duty police officer.
The statement issued by SAPS national spokesperson, Brigadier Athlenda Mathe follows a video that has gone viral on social media platforms, depicting a policeman in uniform collecting grain next to parked heavy trucks and driving away in police bakkie.
Mathe said the on-duty police man was buying the grain for his personal use from a civilian.
She said a preliminary investigation has revealed that the police officer is a sergeant attached to the Durban Harbour.
The South Africa Police Service are criminals pic.twitter.com/1tLtT6k8ye— Man’s NOT Barry Roux (@AdvoBarryRoux) January 10, 2024
“The SAPS views such action in a serious light and assures members of the public that resources such as State vehicles are there to ensure optimal running and functioning of the service and to service our communities,” said Mathe.
“The video which has been shared widely on social media platforms has attracted much negativity towards the SAPS, with some commentators accusing the men and women in blue of being “criminals”.
Previously, the SAPS has consistently issued stern warnings when police vehicles were recorded being used for private purposes, or used to commit crime or other forms of abuse.
Police management in Gauteng, in 2022, condemned “in the strongest possible terms” the incident in which a sergeant based at Alexandra police station was found intoxicated, inside a marked state vehicle in Limpopo.
The drunk police officer had a woman with him in the car when he was found.
“Preliminary investigations revealed that the member utilised the station’s vehicle without authority to travel to another province. The 36-year-old sergeant was arrested at Masemola in Limpopo,” Gauteng police spokesperson, Dimakatso Sello said at the time.
“A case of using a motor vehicle without the owner’s consent as well as a departmental case have been opened against the member for further investigations. No member of the service will be allowed to misuse or abuse state resources which are meant to serve the public.”
The SAPS in Gauteng has appealed to community members to report misuse of police vehicles and misconduct by police officials.
Last year, police management in Mpumalanga “strongly” condemned the behaviour of a police captain who was arrested for allegedly trafficking dagga.
At the time, Mpumalanga police spokesperson, Brigadier Selvy Mohlala said the captain was nabbed after being allegedly caught in the act.
“On that day it is said that security guards were busy patrolling the premises at a certain plantation in Sabie when they noticed a police van in the bushes,” Mohlala said.
“They (security guards) then went to check as to what was happening. To their surprise, the guards reportedly saw two males, one being a SAPS captain, though not wearing uniform at the time whilst the other one was wearing SAPS boiler suit (police reflective jacket).”
The captain was the driver of the SAPS service vehicle.
“It is further alleged that the two were allegedly in possession of some bags which were wrapped with Sellotape. It is said that they were busy putting the luggage into some black refuse bags,” Mohlala said.
“The man wearing (a) boiler suit reportedly ran away upon noticing the guards, leaving behind the driver who is said to have also tried to escape with the police bakkie but the security officers used their bakkie to block him.”
The suspicious bags were then checked, and it was discovered that the content inside was dagga weighing 22.48kg with an estimated street value of R33,720.