Families pay 'ransom' to Pretoria cops for release of Bangladeshi migrants
Five police officers have been arrested for their alleged involvement in two cases of human trafficking, kidnapping and extortion.
National police spokesperson Brig Vishnu Naidoo said the first incident was on March 27.
Ten Bangladeshi nationals who were being smuggled through Zimbabwe into SA were allegedly kidnapped on the N1 by four police members from the Silverton flying squad in Pretoria, driving in two marked police vehicles.
Naidoo said four days later, on March 31, two of the 10 victims were released after their families had paid a ransom.
He said the crime intelligence unit worked tirelessly with investigators to identify the four constables.
Warrants for their arrests were obtained earlier this week.
Three of the constables were arrested at the Silverton 10111 centre. Naidoo said the fourth member had not reported for duty at the time the arrests were executed but he would be arrested soon.
In a separate matter, two members of a police stabilisation intervention in Mamelodi were also arrested on Tuesday night on allegations of extortion, Naidoo said.
"A man, allegedly a drug dealer, contacted the SAPS anti-corruption unit and informed them that police members were demanding money from him."
He said the two members, one from Silverton police and the other officer from the provincial anti-gang unit, were arrested at a restaurant in Silverton on Tuesday evening.
Naidoo said the "extortion money" was recovered from them.
National police commissioner Gen Khehla Sitole said he was disappointed in the police officials.
"It is disheartening when members who are entrusted with the safety of law-abiding citizens are seen to be committing crimes themselves.
"While we allow for justice to take its course, the arrest of these members should serve as a warning to other law enforcement officials that criminality within our ranks will not be tolerated," Sitole said.