Mpumalanga police bust for hijacking‚ rape and rhino poaching

03 October 2018 - 11:19 By Naledi Shange
At least five officers have been arrested in the past three weeks.
At least five officers have been arrested in the past three weeks.
Image: SUHAIB SALEM

Mpumalanga police commissioner Lieutenant General Mondli Zuma is concerned about a spate of crimes in the province involving police.

At least five officers have been arrested in the past three weeks in the province for crimes including hijacking‚ rape and rhino poaching.

In one of the most recent incidents‚ an officer in Balfour was arrested after handing himself over for being involved in a hijacking.

"Information at police disposal suggest that the constable‚ who was on duty and driving a state vehicle‚ signalled at a motorist to stop and he complied. The policeman then went to the vehicle and ordered the driver together with his wife to alight from it‚" said brigadier Leonard Hlathi.

"The suspect then hijacked the couple’s vehicle at gunpoint‚ leaving the state vehicle behind. He has been missing until [Monday] night when he was arrested after having handed himself over to the police. During the arrest‚ police recovered the victims' vehicle as well as the state's firearm‚" said Hlathi.

The officer is to appear in court on Wednesday .

Three other officers‚ including a former station commander‚ were arrested two weeks ago by the Hawks for allegedly being part of a rhino poaching outfit around the Kruger National Park.

"Captain Phineas Lubisi‚ aged 56‚ former station commander of Skukuza who is now working at Calcutta; constable Thembisile Mhlanga‚ aged 30‚ stationed at Skukuza; and constable Rachel Qwebane‚ aged 33‚ have since been in custody pending formal bail application on October 8 at the White River Magistrate’s Court‚" said Hlathi.

On Tuesday‚ TimesLIVE reported that an 18-year-old woman was allegedly raped by a police officer at the Nelspruit Magistrate's Court last month.

The woman had been in police custody and had just appeared in court for a crime.

"It is alleged that the sergeant escorted her and other prisoners to the cells when he suddenly told her that there was a problem with her papers‚" colonel Mtsholi Bhembe said.

"The victim was then ordered by the sergeant to enter into a separate room where he reportedly ordered her to undress and threatened her that he would tell the prosecutor to give her a harsh sentence unless she slept with him. He then raped her‚" Bhembe said.

A case had since been opened with the independent police investigative directorate (Ipid).

Police commissioner Zuma expressed his concern‚ saying police are expected to be the custodians of the law and not the ones breaking it.

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