Smuggling worries SA police

19 Aug, 2015 - 00:08 0 Views
Smuggling worries SA police

The Herald

Crime Reporter
South Africa Police Services has expressed concern over some of their officers who are working with cross-border syndicates to smuggle contraband of export quality cigarettes into that country, especially from Zimbabwe and Mozambique. According to a statement on the police services website, SAPS National Commissioner-General Riah Phiyega said they would continue to adopt and implement strategies they feel would be best suited to deal with different crimes.

This comes after eight SAPS officers were recently arrested in that country on allegations of working with cross-border syndicates to smuggle contraband of export quality cigarettes from Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

The eight police officers, who were arrested last Wednesday in Lydenburg, Mpumalanga, faced corruption, defeating the course of justice, conspiracy to commit a crime, assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm and kidnapping, among other charges.

According to media reports from South Africa, the officers are accused of working with cross-border smugglers to ensure safe passage of the illicit goods through Mpumalanga province.

Comm-Gen Phiyega, who is also the Southern African Regional Police Chiefs Cooperation Organisation (SARPCCO) chairperson, said: “The arrest of these policemen highlights the complexity of the type or crime we are dealing with and our plight as dedicated law enforcers to curbing this crime trend successfully.

“The members that were arrested hold the ranks of constable and sergeant, the level of police officers that are supposed to be in the forefront of crime fighting and who South Africa is depending on to keep them safe; instead they are alleged to have opted for the life of crime.”

Comm-Gen Phiyega said they had dismissed over 1 663 police officers over the past three years, including 21 others last month and would not hesitate to dismiss more in future.

She said SAPS was convinced that the use of task teams in fighting organised crime, in particular syndicates involved in mall robberies and the hijacking of cigarette-delivery vehicles was yielding positive results.

“Gangs, which specialised in the hijacking of vehicles delivering cigarettes in Gauteng and elsewhere in the country were running riot until they were stopped dead in their tracks by our task teams, which were also formed on my instruction,” she said.

Comm-Gen Phiyega said a total of 359 suspects were also arrested for crimes that were committed as far back as 2013 and their task team seized 34 cars, 25 firearms, more than 12 000 cartons of cigarettes and cash.

She said they would continue working with relevant units of the SAPS, the National Prosecuting Authority and the affected stakeholders in curbing the smuggling.

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