The Democratic Alliance (DA) Gauteng Premier candidate Solly Msimanga visited the Yeoville police station on Tuesday, following allegations that illegal immigrants who have been arrested are forced to pay bribes in exchange for being released.
It is alleged that the police arrest undocumented immigrants, keep them in the police holding cells and then release them upon receipt of a bribe. The police are supposed to send these individuals to the Lindela Repatriation Centre for deportation.
Msimanga says he is disappointed that the top management of the station failed to adequately respond to these allegations, which is a clear indication that they might be hiding something.
“The only excuse provided to us by these police officers is that they are unable to disclose operational matters as this will jeopardise crime fighting and active investigations,” he says.
“It is difficult to determine the validity of these allegations if top management is not willing to divulge any information. They highlighted that there is a serious challenge posed by internal corruption, however, they were not willing to disclose statistics.
“It is the first time that while conducting an oversight inspection at a police station, management have refused to provide us with statistics and are also not willing to share their successes and challenges with us. They claim that when illegal immigrants are arrested, they communicate with the Department of Home Affairs, thereafter the arrested illegal immigrants are taken to court from where they are transferred to the Lindela Repatriation Centre for deportation.
“The Yeoville area is over-populated with a combination of both locals and foreign nationals which makes it difficult to conduct proper policing in the area. This police station is also understaffed and under-resourced.
- “There is no specialised Drug Unit at the station, yet the area is battling a scourge of drugs. We will be writing to the Gauteng Police Commissioner, Lieutenant General Elias Mawela to investigate these serious corruption allegations against Yeoville SAPS (South African Police Service).
“It is unacceptable for police officers to take advantage of the plight of the illegal immigrants by demanding a bribe instead of following proper procedures. Corruption allegations amongst SAPS is rife and not enough has been done to investigate these cases and arrest the perpetrators.”
Msimanga also says the DA has a plan to ensure that “we fix SAPS through professionalising the police service and rooting out corrupt police officers.”