‘Rambo squad’ police back in court

2013-08-26 08:17

Four Free State constables who allegedly went on a two-day rampage in Meqheleng township and its bordering town of Ficksburg, Free State, which left scores of people injured, are due back in court today.

The constables have been nicknamed the Rambo Squad by locals – and have left a trail of terrified residents in their wake.

The state claims that constables Samson Pokedi (29), Johannes Sefatsa (37), Matthews Radebe (31) and Stephen Molete (34) assaulted a number of people – including two other police officers – in the course of their duties on August 10 and 11.

It has now emerged that Ficksburg station commander Colonel Shembe Vilakazi sets monthly arrest targets for his officers – and rewards those who meet their targets with R500 each.

It has been suggested by sources close to the investigation of the four that this may have influenced the officers’ actions.

Among the people injured was Mapule Motete – the four allegedly drove over her.

Motete told City Press’ sister paper Volksblad that she still suffered chest pain when she coughs and had blood clots in her thigh.

Captain Sabatha Matsepa (43) and Constable Modise Molefenyane (34) were also injured and allegedly assaulted when they reprimanded the four for their behaviour.

Commenting on the arrest targets and R500 rewards, Free State police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Thandi Mbambo said it was part of the provincial commissioner’s strategy to allow station commanders to reward “outstanding performance”. Rewards could take any form the station commander chose, she said.

When news of the alleged assaults broke earlier this month, the police said the people concerned had interfered with the police in the discharge of their duties, resisted arrest and “intimidated” members.

The constables, who appeared in the Ficksburg Magistrates’ Court this week on charges of assault and assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, were released on bail of R1 000 each.

They may only do administrative work and may not be involved in visible policing work.

The Independent Police Investigative Directorate’s Moses Dlamini said more arrests were expected.

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