Johannesburg - Two suspects have been arrested in Johannesburg's notorious Hillbrow neighbourhood after police recovered protective gear used by the South African Police Service (SAPS) public order police (POP) unit at a block of flats.
At least 24 SAPS helmets, 12 SAPS riot shields, and drugs, including dagga, were found in a storeroom at the Cape Algulhas block of flats on Friday, Gauteng police spokesperson Brigadier Mathapelo Peters said.
"Police earlier in the day conducted an 'O Kae Molao' operation where a number of buildings in Hillbrow had been flagged as generating high volumes of contact crime. Other buildings visited were Kiribili, Eastgate, Florence Nightingale, and O'Riley - and police arrested 22 undocumented foreign nationals, two suspects for possession of and dealing in drugs," said Peters.
"Two illegal liquor outlets were closed and liquor [was] confiscated. Three more suspects were arrested for business robbery at Joubert [Park]."
Gauteng police commissioner Lt-Gen Elias Mawela called for an urgent investigation by a team of seasoned investigators at provincial level to establish how the SAPS protective gear came to be in the wrong hands.
"The extent to which criminals have now gone to undermine the authority of the state is very disturbing. No effort will be spared in finding out the source of supply, pending confirmation of whether indeed the gear is state-issued or replicas. Whatever the case, we believe the intention to own state property is still criminal," said Mawela.
In an unrelated incident in Douglasdale in Johannesburg on Friday police also found, among other items, police rank insignia and "military-style" items.