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By News24 Wire

Wire Service

Free State cops released on bail after allegedly caught drinking in tavern

Four of the police officers were arrested on Sunday when they reported for duty.

Five police officers appeared in the Phuthaditjhaba Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday for defeating the ends of justice and convening an unlawful gathering under the Disaster Management Act after their station commander allegedly found them drinking at a tavern at the weekend.

Peter Motsoeneng, Aaron Masole, Dieketseng Tsotetsi and Thabo Mokoena were arrested on Sunday when they reported for duty at the Namahadi police station near Frankfort in the Free State.

According to provincial National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Phaladi Shuping, it is alleged that the officers went to a tavern in the vicinity of Namahadi on Saturday where they allegedly found the owner drinking. They then allegedly bought liquor from him and sat down to have a drink.

Shuping said: “The station commander was alerted about the situation and he went to the scene where he found all the accused drinking alcohol whilst they were on duty. The members fled the scene upon seeing the station commander and other police officers.”

Four of the police officers were arrested on Sunday when they reported for duty. The fifth officer was arrested at his home after he called in sick.

“Four officers were released on bail of R1,500 each. The fifth officer, Frans Moloi, who is a police reservist, was granted bail of R1,000.”

The case was postponed to 15 July for further investigation.

National police spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo earlier said while its members face criminal charges, internal SAPS processes will also be pursued.

“Fighting corruption and restoring the integrity of the [SAPS] remain a top priority for police management. The arrest of our own will send a stern warning to all men and women in blue as well as all law enforcement agencies to steer clear of criminality and corruption at all times.”

While these incidents were disappointing, it must be noted that these were isolated incidents, Naidoo said.

“The arrest of these police officers is indicative of the SAPS’s commitment in the fight against this [coronavirus] pandemic,” Naidoo added.

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