Mpumalanga police arrested the traffic manager of the Ehlanzeni region and his wife on Wednesday for suspected involvement in the theft of R22-million.

Charles Mdhluli, 47, and his wife Zandile, 45, were arrested in Nelspruit in connection with the theft of R22-million from Absa bank's cash centre in 2003, Captain Ockie Brits said on Thursday.

The Mdhlulis were released on bail of R5 000 each following a court appearance on Wednesday.

The two, along with 10 others, would appear in the Carolina regional court on January 30.

Brits said "a lot" of the money had been recovered.

The Mpumalanga department of roads and traffic said on Thursday it had suspended Charles Mdhluli with immediate effect.

"The department views the allegations in a serious light. Any employee who is found on the wrong side of the law must face its full might," spokesperson David Nkambule said in a statement.

He said the department would monitor the case closely.

Brits said that in April 2003, thieves broke in through the roof of the cash centre, disabled the alarm and, using jackhammers and angle grinders, cut their way into the vault. - Sapa