Johannesburg - The swift arrest of seven police officers for corruption and defeating the ends of justice showed the force was serious about fighting crime, Gauteng’s top cop Lieutenant General Elias Mawela said.
Mawela, who is Gauteng’s provincial commissioner, was responding to the police arresting seven of their own after the raids in the Johannesburg CBD on Wednesday.
Gauteng police said five officers, among them four warrant officers and a constable, were arrested in Johannesburg after they were allegedly caught attempting to resell confiscated goods to traders.
The police said another two officers from the Tactical Response Team (TRT) were arrested following a police probe into a possible leak of information on the planned raid in the Johannesburg CBD on Wednesday.
"We certainly hope that the arrest of seven of our own will prove to the people of Gauteng that we are serious about eradicating crime, even if it means arresting our own. No-one is above the law," said Mawela.
He commended Crime Intelligence and the Anti-Corruption unit for the successful operation after the embarrassment of last week’s operation, where armed police officers were seen retreating for a flood of storms after they were outnumbered by a mob in the CBD.
Wednesday’s operation was in conjuction with the Provincial Traffic Police and Saturation Unit, the Home Affairs Immigration Officers, SARS Customs, the Joburg Metro Police Department, and clothing brand owners.
Police confirmed 560 undocumented foreign nationals were taken in for processing, where their status would be determined by Home Affairs, while the Local Criminal Record Centre from the SAPS would determine their criminal records.
Police also seized unlicensed firearms, including six rifles, six pistols, four shotguns and hundreds of ammunition.
“A suspect was arrested for possession of unlicensed firearms and ammunition. The firearms will be subjected to ballistic testing to determine possible usage in the commission of crime,” said the police.
Also found was a large consignment of goods including clothing and sneakers, but the police were yet to determine the value of the goods.
Crime Intelligence also led police to the Lister Building where 46 vehicles were found. The cars were packed to capacity with alleged counterfeit goods, police said.
Gauteng Premier David Makhura welcomed the arrests.
"As South Africans we must work collectively to build our economy and create much needed jobs. We need to make a significant dent in the illegal trade of counterfeit goods as they pose an economic risk against our efforts as a country.”
Police Minister Bheki Cele said ‘bravo’ to the police.
“We remain resolute of the capabilities of our men and women in blue. We told the nation that we will continue to stamp the authority of the State. We cannot have parallel governance with criminals, therefore we will continue to squeeze the space for criminals to zero regardless of race, gender or nationality," he said.