South African cops detains migrants, demands R10,000 bribes for their release

Pretoria – Three suspects, including a female police captain have been arrested on charges of corruption, defeating the ends of justice, extortion and kidnapping.

Police in Mpumalanga have identified the trio as Tshidi Anastacia Mamareko, 56, Santi Madoda Khumalo, 44, and Albert Ramuchu, 41.

The suspects, one woman and two men, were nabbed in Witbank on Monday afternoon, after they had received money in a bid to release undocumented foreign nationals they had arrested, according to Mpumalanga police spokesperson Colonel Donald Mdhluli.

“According to the report, 13 alleged undocumented persons were reportedly taken into a police marked van by the three suspects for hours whereby a bribe of R10 000 was demanded from them for their freedom,” he said.

It is alleged that the detained individuals were working at a construction site in Witbank.

“Apparently, the owner of the premises was also contacted to pay for the release of the 13. After a few hours, cash was allegedly paid to the three suspects and that is when they were arrested by members of the police from the Mpumalanga provincial anti-corruption unit,” Mdhluli said.

The cash was also confiscated from the possession of the trio, as part of the investigation.

On Tuesday, the three appeared before the Emalahleni Magistrate’s Court, and they were each granted bail of R2 000.

They are set to return to the same court on March 1, while police investigation continues.

Internal investigations surrounding the incident against the SAPS captain will also be conducted, and Mdhluli said disciplinary steps may be taken pending the outcome of the probe.

Provincial commissioner of police in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant-General Semakaleng Daphney Manamela has welcomed the arrest of the three.

She “strongly” warned police officers to avoid involving themselves in corrupt activities “as it would land them in hot water”.

“We cannot allow ourselves to be associated with corruption, and the law will have to take its course against such who break the law, including those within our ranks without fear of favour,” she said.