Police officer nabbed with business robbery suspects.

Police in Mpumalanga will conduct an assessment to determine if a cop arrested with business robbery suspects was still fit to wear the blue uniform of the SAPS. The Police said they had noted a spate of business robberies in the Volksrust area, including the April 10 business robbery where the syndicate helped themselves to cellphones worth more than R150 000.

Mpumalanga police spokesperson, Brigadier Leonard Hlathi said the 40-year-old police constable was arrested on Monday after investigations pointed to his involvement with a group of five business robbers.

“Reports indicate that the area of Volksrust, abruptly experienced an uptrend of business robberies where cases were registered and subsequently investigated. The latest robbery occurred on 10 April 2021, where a group of armed suspects violently stormed a certain clothing shop and held the staff hostage at gunpoint. The suspects then instructed victims to stay in the storeroom whilst they helped themselves with various items, including cell phones and some clothing items to an estimated value of about R150 000,” said Hlathi.

Hlathi said the incident was eventually reported to police where a vigorous manhunt was launched. He said the police followed all possible leads on the whereabouts of the villains and managed to arrested six of them, they were found in possession of an unlawful firearm as well as ammunition.

“Four of the said suspects reportedly escaped from lawful custody at Volksrust Magistrate ‘s Court as they were scheduled to make their second court appearance on 19 April 2021. However Welcome Mncube (56) was rearrested and the rest, 34 year Jima Dube, Sandile Gasa, aged 42 as well as 28 year Emmanuel Sibanda are still on their undue freedom,” said Hlathi.

He added that during the investigation, police discovered that the arrested member was also found to be allegedly involved in some of the robberies. He said the said officer was then sought and apprehended, hence his court appearance. Hlathi also said that an internal investigation against the officer to determine his fitness to remain as a police officer is underway.

The Acting Provincial Commissioner, Major General Thulani Phahla has vowed to get rid of all corrupt elements within the system.

“We can never allow good police officers to be dented by a few who further their illicit behaviour from within the service,” said General Phahla.

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