Worcester SAPS officers arrested for extorting spaza shops
Andile Sicetsha

Four South African Police Service (SAPS) constables from Worcester, Western Cape, were placed under arrest and charged with crimes related to corruption and extortion, on the morning of Monday 6 July 2020.

How Worcester SAPS officers extorted spaza shops

According to police spokesperson Captain FC Van Wyk, an internal investigation into the conduct of the four SAPS officers aged between 43 and 53 was launched after spaza shop owners reported that they were being extorted for selling cigarettes illegally.

According to the lockdown regulations, the sale of cigarettes is prohibited and merchants found to be contravening this newly established law could face heavy penalties or even worse, jail time.

This is allegedly the type of fearmongering the Worcester constables used to extort money from the spaza shop owners between Saturday 4 June and Tuesday 21 June.

“It is alleged that the members took money from several shopkeepers in the Worcester area between 4 June 2020 and 21 June 2020 to avoid being arrested for selling cigarettes during Lockdown. The members were identified and linked to the incidents by means of witness statements, video footage, duty registers and automatic vehicle location reports,” Captain Van Wyk noted in a statement.

‘We have zero-tolerance for corruption’ – Van Wyk

Before any arrests could be made, the case was brought to the attention of Rodney de Kock, the Western Cape’s Director of Public Prosecutions.

With his approval, after sifting through all the evidence, four arrest warrants were issued out for the suspects.

The rogue officers have since appeared before the Worcester Magistrate’s Court on corruption charges and await another court schedule to iron out the administrative part of the trial.

On the conduct of the Worcester officers, Captain Van Wyk stressed that “SAPS management remains committed [to] uprooting all forms of corruption.”