South African Police Commissioner, General Khehla Sitole welcomed the arrest of five police officers for their alleged involvement in crimes. File picture: Phando Jikelo/ANA

Cape Town - South African Police Commissioner, General Khehla Sitole on Wednesday welcomed the arrest of five police officers for their alleged involvement in crimes of human trafficking, kidnapping, and extortion in two separate incidents.

National police spokesperson, Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo said the first incident happened on March 27, when 10 Bangladeshi nationals who were being smuggled through Zimbabwe into South Africa were allegedly kidnapped on the N1 by four South African Police Services (SAPS) Silverton Flying Squad members driving in two marked police vehicles.

On March 31, two out of the 10 victims were released after their families paid a ransom. 

Naidoo said SAPS National Crime Intelligence worked tirelessly with investigators on this case and identified four Silverton Flying Squad constables that were alleged to have kidnapped the victims. A warrant for the arrest of each of the suspects was obtained earlier this week.

On Wednesday morning, during a multi-disciplinary operation, members of the National Crime Intelligence Unit, Villeria Detectives, Trio Task Team and the Organised Crime Investigations Unit supported by the Special Task  Force arrested three of the constables at the Silverton 10111 Centre. The fourth member had not reported for duty by that time but his arrest will be affected soon, according to Naidoo.

 In a separate matter, two members of a stabilisation intervention in Mamelodi were also arrested on Tuesday night on allegations of extortion. A man, allegedly a drug dealer contacted the SAPS Anti-Corruption unit and informed them that police members were demanding money from him.

“The two members, one from Silverton SAPS currently deployed at the Combating and Response Team in Mamelodi, the other from Provincial Anti Gang Unit were arrested at a restaurant in Silverton last night and the "extortion" money was recovered from them,” Naidoo said.

Sitole expressed disappointment about the alleged transgressions by these members. 

"It is disheartening when members who are entrusted with the safety of law-abiding citizens are seen to be committing crimes themselves,” said Sitole.

"While we allow for justice to take its course, the arrest of these members should serve as a warning to other law enforcement officials that criminality within our ranks will not be tolerated.”

All of these members are currently in police custody and they will be brought before court during the course of this week on their respective charges.

“Anyone who has any information on crime is kindly requested to contact Crime Stop... Callers may remain anonymous and all information will be treated with the strictest confidence,” Naidoo said.

African News Agency (ANA)