A former police clerk, who was sentenced to five years in prison for corruption, denied taking a bribe, despite video evidence of the incident.
In 2015, Nontsikelelo Mancoba, 47, was working as a clerk at the Mthatha police station in the fingerprints section when a member of the public enquired about how to expunge her criminal record.
According to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), she was seeking employment as a security guard and Mancoba took advantage of her situation as she could not be employed with her criminal record.
"Mancoba demanded that the desperate woman bring R5 000 if she wanted to have 'clean fingerprints' but the woman said she could not raise such an exorbitant amount," NPA provincial spokesperson Luxolo Tyali said in a statement.
"Mancoba then reduced her demand to R3 000 after which the complainant decided to approach the SAPS Organised Crime Unit."
A sting operation was then set up, where the complainant was given money to hand over to Mancoba who had asked that the exchange take place in the toilets of the 11th floor SAPS offices in the PRD Building, Tyali said.
"Investigators pounced on Mancoba soon after receiving the money and she was arrested. Following her arrest, she resigned from the police."
During the trial, Mancoba pleaded not guilty, denying ever taking the money, despite there being video footage of her in the act, Tyali said in a statement.
Advocate Mtutuzeli Rangula for the State convinced the court to impose direct imprisonment after Mancoba's defence attorney argued a fine would be more appropriate.
"Corruption and other crimes of dishonesty on the part of officials in the public service have become one of the most serious threats to our country's wellbeing and have to be characterised as a pandemic that requires drastic efforts to combat it," Rangula said.
The Mthatha Regional Court sentenced Mancoba to five years' imprisonment for corruption on Tuesday.