Five South African police officers, including a reservist stationed at the Namahadi Police Station in the Free State have been arrested after they were allegedly caught drinking at a local tavern over the weekend.
The incident is one of three that took place over the weekend and the officers were allegedly drinking at the tavern on Saturday.
National police spokesperson Brig Vish Naidoo said that the officers initially escaped but were arrested on Sunday when they reported for duty.
“Pictures of the members being arrested went viral, a moment SAPS management is not proud of, but the arrests were a necessary course of action,” Naidoo said.
In a second incident, six officers from Brooklyn and Silverton police stations in Pretoria were arrested on Saturday for allegedly stealing money during a roadblock.
Mr Naidoo said members of the Mpumalanga provincial Anti-Corruption Unit received information that the officers had stolen more than R30,000 in cash from a group of people who were stopped at a roadblock.
All six police officers were arrested after they were found in possession of the money.
Another officer was also detained after he held a gathering at the police barracks in Soshanguve, north of Pretoria.
General Khehla Sithole, national provincial police commissioner said: “The arrest of our own is both disheartening and pleasing in the sense that it shows the SA Police Service remains unbiased and has the capacity and capability to decisively deal with criminality within its ranks.”
According to Transparency International and Afrobarometer’s Global Corruption Barometer – Africa 2019, 64% of South Africans thought that corruption in the country had increased over the past year and 49% indicated that ‘most or all people’ in the police were corrupt.
The 2017/18 World Economic Forum scorecard showed that South Africans scored the reliability of their police to enforce the law worse than the citizens of 118 other countries, resulting in South African police being ranked in the bottom 13% out of 137 countries.
The deterioration in South African policing has been ongoing for seven years with little evidence of a clear plan to address the problems.