KZN traffic officer caught on camera 'stealing cellphone' at food outlet
A KwaZulu-Natal traffic officer who was caught on CCTV cameras allegedly stealing a cellphone at a Pietermaritzburg food outlet has been suspended by the transport department.
CCTV footage of the public transport enforcement unit officer allegedly stealing a cellphone from the counter at a Nandos outlet went viral on social media last week.
In the video the officer can be seen looking around suspiciously before setting his sights on a cellphone on the front counter at the restaurant.
He then quickly grabs the cellphone before slipping it into his pants pocket.
In a statement on Monday, the provincial transport department said the officer in question had been served with a letter of suspension pending an internal investigation and a criminal case which is being investigated by the police.
The department said it had launched an internal investigation and had met the management of the fast food outlet to verify the authenticity of the video, and was considering taking tougher action since the officer was in full uniform.
"The officer has since taken leave. However, he was served with a notice of suspension. This follows a letter written by the department last week affording him the opportunity to give his version of the story and for him to give reasons why he should not be suspended."
Head of department Sibusiso Gumbi described the allegation as embarrassing to the law enforcement fraternity and tarnishing the department’s reputation.
“We view this video footage very seriously. The alleged action by the traffic officer tarnishes the image of the department and discredits the moral standing of our enforcement authorities in public."
He said law enforcement officers, by virtue of their oath, must be beyond reproach and must always be exemplary, even when they are off duty.
"This suspension will send a strong message that this department will not tolerate corruption or any form of crime. We are also working in collaboration with the police to ensure finalisation of this matter is expedited."
"The department has vowed to act against any traffic officer who is involved in fraud or corruption," he said.