Seven police officers were arrested on Wednesday after a raid on illegal traders and counterfeit goods in central Johannesburg.
In the first incident, five officers were apprehended by their colleagues for allegedly trying to sell seized goods back to illegal traders.
They face charges of corruption and defeating the ends of justice.
According to Gauteng police spokesperson Brigadier Mathapelo Peters, the five police officers – a warrant officer and four constables – were arrested at the Johannesburg Central police station after they were allegedly caught attempting to resell the confiscated goods back to the illegal traders.
Additionally, two officers from the Tactical Response Team (TRT) were also arrested following a police probe into a possible leak of information on the planned raid in the Johannesburg CBD.
“The two were linked through investigations and on an eye witness account. Police believe the loot found in 46 vehicles in the basement parking at Lister Building, could have been the cargo that was removed the night before, after the illegal traders had received a tip-off,” she said.
Peters said the raids were set to continue and confirmed that during the Wednesday raid, police took over 560 undocumented foreign nationals under processing.
“Their status in the country will be determined by the Department of Home Affairs while the Local Criminal Record Centre from the SAPS will determine criminal records,” Peters added.
She further added that police recovered 16 unlicensed firearms, including six rifles, six pistols and four handguns, as well as hundreds of assorted ammunition in a room at the 12th Floor of the Medical One Shopping Centre in Rahima Moosa Street.
“The firearms will be subjected to ballistic testing to determine possible usage in the commission of crime,” Peters said.
“Large consignment of counterfeit goods including clothing and sneakers were found in different buildings and the monetary value is yet to be determined,” she added.
Peters emphasised that the confiscated goods will be disposed of in a similar manner as the previous public disposal of over R500 million worth of counterfeit goods in April 2019.
Gauteng Provincial Commissioner of police Lieutenant General Elias Mawela commended the Crime Intelligence and Anti-corruption unit for making sure the operation was a success.
“We certainly hope that the arrest of seven of our own will prove to the people of Gauteng that we are serious about eradicating crime, even if it means arresting our own. No one is above the law,” Mawela said.
Police Minister General Bheki Cele also visited the Johanensburg CBD and during his visit, where he said police management remained confident of the capabilities of the police officials.
“We told the nation that we will continue to stamp the authority of the state. We cannot have parallel governance with criminals, therefore we will continue to squeeze the space for criminals to zero, regardless of race, gender or nationality, Cele said.