Rustenburg diesel cronies arrested after botched bribery attempt
Andile Sicetsha

To an honest officer of the law, money doesn’t buy you anything. This is what two diesel thieves learned when they tried to access their confiscated fuel tanker and free their mates.

The plan to recover the diesel tanker from confinement

According to Hawks spokesperson Captain Tlangelani Rikhotso, a sting operation was launched after two suspects, aged 37 and 44 respectively, tried to shove hush money in the pockets of law enforcement officials.

In their sights was a fuel tanker holding stolen diesel with the street value of R480 000. The tanker was held by authorities after two suspects were caught extracting diesel at an underground pipeline site, on Friday 10 July 2020.

So, how were these lads going to get their greedy hands on the tanker and get their mates out of jail without all the legal red tape? Well, it’s widely known that in South Africa, enough money can purchase a ‘get-out-of-jail-free’ card.

The bribe that cost them their freedom

Therefore, the suspects’ only resolve was to approach law enforcement officers and try to win them over with some hush money.

“The suspect allegedly claimed to be the legal representative of the accused and offered the investigator R30 000 to release both accused on bail and further release the fuel tanker that was seized at the crime scene,” Captain Rikhotso noted in a statement.

Unfortunately, by bribing an officer, the suspects had already sealed their fate. An undercover operation was launched to reel the suspects in and arrest them after the exchange of hush money was made.

The plan was to meet the suspects at an undisclosed location to exchange a downpayment of R5 000. Not suspecting that they were being tracked by authorities, the two cronies carried on with the bribe and as soon as they made the exchange, they were cuffed and booted to jail.

Their first court appearance is expected to be on Thursday at the Rustenburg Magistrate’s Court where a charge of corruption will be submitted by the State.