SA's crooked cops are under investigation: Police watchdogs probing nearly 400 cases of corruption

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Police watchdogs are clamping down on crooked cops.
Police watchdogs are clamping down on crooked cops.
Roger Sedres/Gallo Images via Getty Images
  • 257 police officers have been arrested in connection with 178 corruption cases.
  • In total, law enforcement agencies are investigating 397 cases involving the police.
  • National commissioner Khehla Sitole said he had instituted a "clean-up operation".

While 257 police officers have been arrested in connection with 178 cases of corruption, the National Assembly's Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) now wants to see blue uniforms replaced by orange prison overalls.

On Tuesday, Scopa was briefed by the South African Police Service (SAPS) on corruption cases involving police officers.

"The national commissioner has acknowledged that police corruption has become increasingly topical following the increasing reports of employees' involvement in criminal activities. A perception of police corruption negatively undermines the entire policing fraternity," read the SAPS presentation.

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The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI), also known as the Hawks, the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID), National Anti-Corruption Unit of SAPS' Detective Services and the National Prosecuting Authority's Investigative Directorate (ID) were all investigating corrupt activities by SAPS employees.

In total, these agencies were investigating 397 cases, of which 178 were with the courts and led to the arrest of 257 suspects.

Apart from the criminal cases, SAPS also instituted disciplinary proceedings against 546 employees - which included two lieutenant-generals, three major-generals and eight brigadiers - relating to 286 cases.

Of the 286 cases, a total of 216 had been finalised, leading to 77 dismissals and 22 service terminations. A total of 18 cases were withdrawn, in 60 cases no prima facie case was found and 113 cases led to sanctions other than dismissal.

High profile 

Among the high-profile cases was the so-called blue lights case, which implicated former acting police commissioner Kgomotso Pahlane, and the investigation into the awarding of contracts to Forensic Data Analysis (FDA).

"The situation compels us to act very decisively," said national police commissioner General Khehla Sitole. "We have therefore adopted what I can call a clean-up campaign."

The committee was in general satisfied that the SAPS appeared to be taking the matter seriously and taking steps to get rid of the bad apples.

"If there is a place where we don't expect corruption to take place, it is SAPS," said Scopa chairperson, IFP MP Mkhuleko Hlengwa.

"We want to see more arrests at SAPS - blue turning to orange - and for you to clean up the rot and mess in SAPS."

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