Renewed accusations of SAPS corruption

Milnerton police station

Fresh accusations of corruption have been levelled against Milnerton police officers by residents of Joe Slovo and Phoenix.

They claim Milnerton police officers have been spotted consorting with known drug dealers and hanging around a tavern.

Another claimed officers stole money from him during a random search.

Nonkosi Mgavi, of Joe Slovo, said Milnerton officers appeared to be on very friendly terms with drug dealers in Freedom Way.

“The community knows these drug dealers. I see the police acting all friendly with those guys and sometimes exchanging hands. We never see what exactly it is that these dealers hand over and we’re scared to get closer. Reporting this to the police themselves won’t help one bit because it’s their own people doing this,” she said.

Sibongile Kofi, of Phoenix, said he had, on many occasions over several years, reported to Milnerton police how he had seen officers from the station hanging around a tavern. The tavern is in the same vicinity where Ms Mgavi says she has seen police meeting drug dealers. Mr Kofi also questioned why police would hang around with known drug dealers.

“There is always a van in that vicinity. One might think that they are patrolling because there’s known illegal activity in that area, but the residents know better, that the police are getting something out of hanging there all the time… I’ve alerted the station commander many times about his members there.”

Thembela Ndlovu, of Joe Slovo, said Milnerton police officers had robbed him during a search in June.

“They randomly stopped and searched me. That kind of thing is normal around here. They violate our rights quite a lot. But this one day, during the hard lockdown, one of the officers put his hands in my pockets and took R800 in cash that I had. When I tried to complain, they told me to come report at the station if I have a problem. I didn’t go, of course. They will stand by their criminal members,” he said.

Mr Ndlovu said he had not seen the officers’ name tags but would recognise them if he saw them again.

It’s not the first time Milnerton police have been accused of stealing money. In January 2018, Phoenix resident Emmanuel Adetona claimed police had stolen R3 000 from him after breaking into his home.

Last month, the station faced accusations of poor service and refusing to let complainants open cases.

Milnerton police spokeswoman, Constable Bongeka Mdaka, said it was hard to respond to broad allegations without specific details of each incident.

“We condemn any corrupt actions on the part of members and strenuously encourage anyone with specific knowledge of such incidents to come forward and provide us with sworn affidavits which can form the basis of an official investigation. The management of Milnerton SAPS has never failed to act firmly and decisively on such allegations, and such action has led to the dismissal and/or criminal prosecution of several SAPS members in the past,” she said.

Milnerton Community Police Forum spokeswoman, Jacqui Pember, said they were aware of complaints that had been published in the press and on social media, but nothing official had been filed with the forum for many months.

“We ask all members of the public to contact us about any service-delivery issues at SAPS,” she said.

In 2018, a case of rape was opened against two Milnerton police officers after they had allegedly performed a cavity search on a man in public. At the time, police said the two officers had not been suspended, but the case was investigated by the Family violence, Child protection and Sexual offences (FCS) Unit and later by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID).

When Tabletalk asked Ipid spokeswoman, Ndileka Cola, on Friday November 6 for an update on that case, she asked us to email her our questions.

She did not respond to our email by the time this issue went to print.

Earlier this month, national police commissioner, General Khehla Sitole, told Parliament’s standing committee on public accounts that since April 1 this year, there were 546 police officers under investigation nationally for various crimes, including 55 for fraud, 35 for extortion and 136 for breaches of the Disaster Management Act.

Africa News Agency reported that 14 officers were facing disciplinary charges for helping detainees escape. Of the high-profile corruption cases involving 79 officers, two members had been fired after disciplinary hearings.