Criminals in blue: five times police arrested their colleagues in 2018

20 December 2018 - 10:48 By Ntokozo Miya
A 38-year-old anti-gang unit officer is arrested for theft on December 4 2018.
A 38-year-old anti-gang unit officer is arrested for theft on December 4 2018.
Image: SAPS

Criminals are often good at squeezing themselves into convenient spaces. Unfortunately for South Africans, that includes the police force. What better cover can there be for a criminal than a position where people never expect to find one?

But that doesn't always work out for them. Here are five instances when police officers had to arrest their own colleagues this year.

1. Cash-in-transit cops

Following a drastic rise in cash-in-transit heists earlier this year, the SAPS had to look within its own staff for suspects in August.

Speaking about cash van heists at a meeting with parliament's police portfolio committee, police minister Bheki Cele admitted: "There's an element of our own guys that are there, the police. We arrested in the past 24 hours five police officers.

"I always say, one painful thing is to announce the arrest of a police officer."

2. 'Murderous' men in blue

Also in August, a KwaZulu-Natal family accused three police officers of torturing and murdering their relative during an interrogation.

The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) confirmed that three cops were detained at the Muden police station for interrogation in connection with a murder.

The three were arrested and face charges of murder and defeating the ends of justice.

3. Officer demands R3,000 bribe

A Johannesburg policeman was charged with corruption after a taxi owner reported him to the metro police department. The officer allegedly tried to solicit a R3,000 bribe from the taxi owner in return for not impounding his vehicle, which was parked on the side of a street.

A sting operation was set up in November and the officer was nabbed by his colleagues.

4. Policeman faces rape charges

In November, just days before the launch of the annual 16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence campaign, Ipid confirmed the arrest of a Soweto policeman on rape charges.

The constable allegedly raped his girlfriend. The victim claimed it was not the first time her policeman partner had sexually abused her.

"It is alleged that the victim went to the suspect's home with the intention of breaking up with him," said IPID. "The suspect then threatened the victim and raped her."

5. Officers with sticky fingers

Barely a month after President Cyril Ramaphosa unleashed the new anti-gang unit in Cape Town, the unit announced the arrest of its own members in December. 

Two constables were bust after money went missing at a residence where they were conducting a search. The complainant reported the theft of an undisclosed amount of money from his safe. He realised the cash was missing after the officers concluded their search of his premises.

On the day of the arrests, Western Cape police commissioner Khombinkosi Jula said: "We will not allow any of our members to perpetrate a crime and get away with it. We hope this morning's arrests will send a stern warning."