Crime experts say the high-profile arrests of policemen in recent days is both concerning, yet also something to celebrate.
A sergeant, 48, at Ixopo police station in KwaZulu-Natal was arrested by a team of Ipid Investigators on Friday on suspicion of murdering his 34-year-old pregnant girlfriend. This happened almost a week after his girlfriend was found dead approximately 1.4km from her home on August 14.
The deceased was last seen leaving with the suspect on the evening of Sunday, August 13.
It has since been established that the woman was pregnant with triplets (boys).
“The suspect may further face charges of dealing in dagga after a stash of dagga and other exhibits were found at his home after his arrest,” said Ipid national spokesperson Robbie Raburabu.
The suspect will appear in the Ixopo Magistrate’s Court today.
Meanwhile, Ipid in Gauteng together with members of the SAPS and members of the community in Bekkersdal and Fochville arrested two sergeants from the Carletonville Detectives and Fochville Detectives, respectively.
The two police officers are alleged to have robbed two victims of their cash and cellphones.
Raburabu said the officers also allegedly set a fire in Bekkersdal before escaping from the scene of crime on foot. Members of the community gave chase.
“The police were called when one suspect was apprehended and questioned. While being pursued, he is alleged to have been shooting at the police and members of the community.
After being apprehended, the first suspect gave information on his accomplice and a description of the getaway vehicle. A manhunt ensued until the second suspect was apprehended in Fochville soon after,” said Raburabu.
The suspects will appear in the Westonaria Magistrate’s Court today.
In a separate incident, a 53-year-old Colonel Dhanasagren Govender attached as the Commander of the Benoni SAPS Mechanical School will be appearing in the Benoni Regional Court on charges of fraud, corruption and contravention of Section 24(1) of National Road Traffic Act today (Monday).
This follows his alleged involvement in the testing of a child of one of the generals in the SAPS for a learner’s licence.
Raburabu said the child is not an employee of the SAPS and could thus not be tested at the institution as required by the NRTA.
He said it is further alleged the colonel was also tested for a motorbike learner’s licence and failed twice, but then influenced the examiner to let him pass in exchange for her to be promoted.
“The examiner obliged, made the colonel pass the test for fear of reprisal and disadvantage when she applies for promotions in the future. Ipid investigated the matter and recommended disciplinary steps against the colonel. He has already been slapped with a one-month salary suspension,” said Raburabu.
In a separate incident, two metro police officers and another 11 suspects were arrested for truck hijacking.
It is alleged that 13 suspects were arrested on the N12 in Benoni after hijacking a truck with stock worth approximately R 3.2 million.
The suspects were found in possession of five sedan vehicles.
A police sergeant was arrested after a high-speed chase on the Kaalrug Road in Mpumalanga, while two other officers fled. Police tried to stop the flying squad vehicle on the N4 after information was received that arms, ammunition and explosives were being transported.
Two police officers were arrested after transporting about 8 firearms in a state vehicle. According to reports, the officers work with alleged cash in transit heist criminals. They will appear in court soon.
“The police force is massive with around 200 000 members. It is obvious that in any organisation of that size that there will be criminal elements, said Chad Thomas, a veteran organised and financial crime investigator from IRS Forensic Investigations.
“The fact that other police members are actively targeting corrupt police officers through intelligence driven investigations, and that such high-profile takedowns of these corrupt officers is taking place, is indicative that SAPS is serious about rooting out these unscrupulous and dishonest members who bring dishonour to a service already beset with so many challenges,” said Thomas.
It remains a concern that police officers are involved in serious crimes such as truck hijackings, cash in transit heists, and other heinous crimes, he said.
“But if the intelligence structures are strengthened and the detective services better capacitated, we will see more such arrests and corrupt members will start seeing the consequences of their actions,” Thomas said.