DA's Solly Msimanga slams cops for stonewalling on bribery allegations
The DA's Gauteng premier candidate Solly Msimanga's efforts to investigate allegations that police accepted bribes from foreigners to release them from custody failed on Wednesday.
The former Tshwane mayor visited the Yeoville police station in Johannesburg to investigate the claims, but said he was not furnished with any information.
Msimanga said his visit to the station was prompted by allegations of illegal immigrants paying bribes in exchange for their freedom.
"I was disappointed that the top management of this station failed to adequately respond to this allegation, which is a clear indication that they might be hiding something," he said.
"The only excuse provided to us by these police officers is that they are unable to disclose operational matters as that would jeopardise crime-fighting and active investigations.”
However, Gauteng police denied the accusations. "This office is not aware of the allegations regarding detention of foreigners where officers take bribes," said spokesperson Col Lungelo Dlamini.
"However, anyone who might have such information may come forward so that the allegations may be investigated, as corrupt persons are a burden to any organisation."
Dlamini said that once undocumented foreigners were arrested, police summoned home affairs officials to process them for the purpose repatriating them to their home countries.
"The process is normally done within 48 hours of their detention. Legal processes are followed by the police station when dealing with any person(s) detained for any specific reason," he said.
Msimanga said the police station was understaffed and under-resourced. "The Yeoville area is overpopulated with a combination of locals and foreign nationals, which makes it difficult to conduct proper policing in the area," he said.
He said it was the first time that the DA has been refused information during an inspection of police stations. "Management has refused to provide us with statistics and are also not willing to share their successes and challenges with us. It is difficult to determine the validity of these allegations if top management is not willing to divulge any information."
Following his visit, Msimanga said the DA would be writing to Gauteng police commissioner Lt-GenElias Mawela to investigate. "It is unacceptable for police officers to take advantage of the plight of illegal immigrants by demanding a bribe instead of following proper procedures," he said.
Msimanga has also called for a specialised drug unit at the station.