JOHANNESBURG - As many as 10 police officers accused of wrongdoing during last week's raid on counterfeit goods in the Johannesburg CBD were on Monday sent back to jail by magistrate Lucas Van Der Schyff, who presided over the matter in the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court.
They were arrested last week for allegedly soliciting bribes, tipping off illegal vendors of imminent raids and trying to sell confiscated goods
The accused - Marubini Aubrey Raphebele, Thulane Philemon Bopela, Petrose Mosiuoa, Samuel Motaung, Timothy Piet Mohlala, Zandile Rachel Nebe, Makhangeni Kenneth Makhubele, Joseph Morethebe Tsotetsi, Molate Elvis Molae and Samuel Sekopana - all appeared in court late on Monday.
The police officers face charges including extortion, theft, corruption and defeating the ends of justice.
Before the matter could get under way, much deliberation took place as one of the accused objected to having proceedings filmed by media, arguing that it would cause irreparable damage to his reputation.
But Van der Schyff would have none of it.
“It may be in the interest of the public to have him filmed. In this instance, public interest weighs more than his privacy,” said the magistrate.
The accused stared blankly ahead, not displaying any emotions, and appeared calm throughout proceedings. Only one of the accused seemed unsettled and tried to cover his face to avoid cameras.
Bail was denied and all of the officers were returned to the cells.
Five of the accused will return to court on Tuesday to have their home addresses verified. The rest were remanded to next week Monday when their bail applications will be heard.
The accused were picked up last week along with hundreds of foreign nationals suspected of being in the country unlawfully.
The foreign nationals were taken in for processing at the Johannesburg Central Police Station.
On Monday morning, the foreign nationals were also brought to the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court.
Ethiopian nationals and members of the African Civil Revolutionary Movement (ACRM) picketed outside the court. They complained that those detained were denied visitation, given little food and in some instances assaulted while they were in police custody.
Leader of the ACRM, Teenage Kumbe, said: “We are picketing in support of our people who are kept in custody unjustly, who are legit with documents, and are legal in the country. We have a problem with the propaganda. Our migrants have a right to life, a right to security and freedom of speech.”
However, the court has made an order to deport those foreign nationals who failed to prove they were legally in the country. They were sent to Lindela Repatriation Centre, where they will remain for 30 days before they are sent back to their countries of origin.
African News Agency (ANA)