Two police officers and clerk sentenced for accepting R700 bribe

The trio were sentenced in the Bellville Specialised Commercial Crimes Court. Picture: Ian Landsberg / Independent Newspapers

The trio were sentenced in the Bellville Specialised Commercial Crimes Court. Picture: Ian Landsberg / Independent Newspapers

Published Mar 12, 2024


Two police officers and an administrative clerk were sentenced in the Specialised Commercial Crimes Court in Bellville, Cape Town after they accepted a bribe from a couple arrested for theft.

Siyabulela Patric Klaas and Mzimasi Soji were members of the South African Police Service (SAPS) stationed at the Khayelitsha police station, and Phumelele Victor Solani was employed as an administrative clerk at the Harare police station when they accepted the bribe in 2016.

Western Cape police spokesperson, Eric Ntabazalila said the trio was convicted on charges of corruption and attempting to obstruct the administration of justice.

Evidence before the court revealed that police received information about a stolen generator at a shop in Site C, Khayelitsha.

Police found the generator at the mentioned address on October 26, 2016, and arrested, Mzoxolo Sigwela and Siyabonga Thabatha. A third accused, Hlombekazi Lunga Fani (Sigwela’s wife) was arrested when she arrived at the Khayelitsha police station to support him.

A third person came to support the arrested trio. The court heard it was during this time that SAPS officer Klaas told the individual that Fani was crying and a plan could be made to release the three, if each officer was paid R200 for each suspect.

Fani was released after signing a statement drafted by officer Soji claiming she was in Butterworth in the Eastern Cape when they were arrested.

The wife and their friend went to her mother-in-law who resided at the same address the stolen generator was retrieved from and collected R700 to pay the police officers.

That evening, they met with the police officers at the end of Bonga Drive in Khayelitsha.

The clerk, Solani told Fani she did not have to worry about attending court the following day as he would do “something on the system” and that the other two were unable to be released. Fani handed over the R700.

“The next day, October 27, 2016, she (Fani) went to Khayelitsha Magistrates Court to support her husband, only to be instructed to appear with her co-accused on a charge of possession of stolen property. The case was postponed to November 25, 2016, for further investigation, and Sigwela and Thabatha were released on R500 bail and Fani was warned to appear in court.

On October 28, 2016, Klaas visited Sigwela to apologise and asked him to speak to his wife to withdraw the criminal case she had opened against them.

“Investigation revealed that Klaas never filed Fani’s statement in a docket and that a statement commissioned by Soji was found in Soji’s locker on November 7, 2016. Global Positioning System (GPS) placed the marked police van the accused drove that night in the area where they went to collect the money,” Ntabazalila said.

The court heard the trio receiving gratification for releasing Fani which was in contravention of their duties to uphold the law and release them without receiving payment, rather than, as they did, receiving money for doing so.

“Klaas, Soji, and Solani were sentenced to eight years direct imprisonment following their conviction for corruption with three years suspended for five years. They were also sentenced to 12 months imprisonment for attempting to obstruct the administration of justice. Soji was also sentenced to 12 months for obstructing the administration of justice.

“The court ordered the sentences to run concurrently, effectively sentencing each accused to five years direct imprisonment,” Ntabazalila said.

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