South Africa News

2 CT cops busted for arresting an innocent man after a suspect managed to escape

Two police officers from Maitland police station are expected to appear in the Cape Town Magistrate court today, for allegedly defeating the administration of justice and kidnapping.

This after the officers arrested a suspect for housebreaking and theft in Maitland on May 29, where they allegedly realized that he was in need of medical attention and took him to Somerset Hospital, where he allegedly escaped.

Police spokesperson FC van Wyk said a 34-year-old constable was left at the hospital to guard the suspect. While at the hospital the suspect managed to escape and the constable informed the 44-year-old warrant officer of this.

“The officers drove around the area looking for the suspect but could not trace him. They returned to the Maitland area and found another person on the street whom they took to the police station and detained in place of the suspect,” said Van Wyk.

He said they did not inform anyone of what had happened. It was only the next day, when the suspect was processed, that the detective realized that the person did not fit the description of the person who was originally arrested.

Van Wyk said the matter was referred to the Anti-Corruption Unit for investigation. He said on completion of the investigation it was discussed with the Director of Public Prosecutions, Western Cape, who decided to charge them.

He said the magistrate at Cape Town Court authorized warrants for the arrest of the officers and they were detained at Cape Town Central Police station on Friday.

Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz said the allegations in the case were quite disturbing. “I can’t believe that members of our SAPS would just arrest an innocent person because the actual suspect managed to get away.”

Fritz said he would discuss the case with provincial police commissioner Tembekile Phathekile. He called on the police to take every step to root out the bad apples in their ranks who commit such heinous acts of injustice.

“I want to say to citizens that if you have any information pertaining to this specific case, or cases like this, please come forward so that the matter can be investigated properly and action can be taken,” said Fritz.

Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) spokesperson Richard Mamabolo said they would only comment on the matter once the court processes have been deliberated.

“As it stands, they are still suspects,” said Mamabolo.

SA Policing Union (Sapu) spokesperson Lesiba Thobakgale said the union condemns any form of corruption or any disregard of the law.

Thobakgale said they would stick to principles. Where there are allegations of such a nature against police officials, investigations should be allowed to take place in order to get to the bottom of such allegations without trying members outside courts, and the rule of law should prevail through necessary structures put in place.

Guy Lamb, a criminologist at Stellenbosch University’s political science department, said it was very important that the two officers have been held to account for their actions and they were appearing in court, because unfortunately there’s been a number of cases of low level of police corruption and incompetence.

“In this particular case it was incompetence, corruption, and miscarriage of justice, and that there had not alerted the senior police management. I know that SAPS Maitland is known to be quite professional and efficient,” said Lamb.

-Cape Argus

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