Gauteng Police Commissioner Lieutenant General Elias Mawela has reaffirmed his commitment to root out police corruption, which is said to be stifling crime fighting efforts in the province.
The commitment comes in the wake of allegations of police in Tshwane being involved in drug-related and other corrupt activities. The allegations link police officers to the violence involving taxi operators in and around the Pretoria Central Business District, as well as alleged police involvement in drug-related activities.
“[Police] involved in drug-related and other corrupt activities cannot be denied given the number of officers that have either been arrested and/or dismissed from the service for corruption since January 2019,” said Brigadier Mathapelo Peters, provincial police spokesperson, in a statement issued on Wednesday
“This serves to reaffirm the commitment by the SAPS management in Gauteng that police are serious about combatting fraud and corruption within the ranks, and rooting out criminal and corrupt elements from within the service, in line with the SAPS National Anti-Corruption Strategy that was launched in June 2018.”
The SAPS, she said, has a zero-tolerance approach to any unethical and corrupt conduct by members of the service. “No one is above the law.”
On his deployment to Gauteng as Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant General Mawela in February 2019 adopted six priorities that needed – and still need – to be addressed as a matter of urgency towards bringing down the volumes of crime in the province.
“Three of these priorities focus specifically on: addressing organised crime; addressing the scourge of drugs and human trafficking; and addressing and rooting out corruption from within the service,” said Peters.
SAPS as well as provincial Metro Police Departments and other law enforcement agencies have intensified operations, among them the weekly Operation O Kae Molao, on a regular basis.
During the operations significant successes were made resulting in arrests for possession and dealing in drugs.
A total of 842 suspects were arrested in Pretoria Central for possession and/or dealing in drugs, while 391 were arrested in Sunnyside since January 2019 to date, she said.
In August, Gauteng Public Transport and Roads MEC Jacob Mamabolo and Mawela engaged with representatives of the taxi industry at a meeting where the City of Tshwane was also represented.
A joint committee was established to look into the violence that had erupted after the fatal shooting of taxi operator, Jabu Baloyi; as well as looking into allegations levelled against the police by the taxi industry.
Peters said the joint committee was not set up to replace the existing coordinating structures of the SAPS such as the Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (JOINTS) and the Crime Combatting Forum (CCF).
Assuring the public that police in Gauteng are serious about reducing the levels of crime in the Province, Lieutenant General Mawela said: “We remain resolute in our efforts to deal with corruption by our members and to restore public confidence in the SAPS.
“To encourage reporting, management of the SAPS and I have during our weekend community engagements, made public our cellphone numbers so that those who are doubtful of who to report to, can report directly to management.
“The contact details of the Station Management must be displayed publicly in the Community Service Centre at each police station and these should be used to the benefit of the communities”.