The Pretoria Specialised Commercial Crimes Court sentenced police officers Johannes Tebogo Mpete (39), Lesiba Richard Mapela (43), and Matsobane Victor Kwanaite (41) to 4 years of direct imprisonment for corruption worth R3000 late last month.
On 14 February 2016, the police officers stopped the vehicle of the complainant while conducting a stop and search operation in Mabopane. While searching the car, they found a white powdery substance and requested the complainant to pay an amount of R5000, to avoid being arrested.
The complainant was driven to Marula Shopping Centre, where he withdrew and handed over an amount of R3000. Kwanaite then gave the complainant his number so they can stay connected to pay the remaining balance.
The complainant reported the matter and after investigation, all three police officers were arrested at their place of employment in 2021. The accused officials pleaded not guilty and Mpete asked the court to hand him a whole suspended sentence, while Mapela and Kwanaite asked for correctional supervision.
However, in aggravation of sentence, state prosecutor Advocate Willem Van Zyl told the court that for the fact that they are police officers they had the responsibility to uphold the law and not break it, and their actions were not done at the spur of the moment, but that their actions were planned. He further added that they had ample time to reconsider, but they did not.
Therefore, he asked the court to impose a sentence of direct imprisonment. In delivering his sentence, Magistrate du Preez said that this is a serious offence and that there is an outcry in society on the crime of corruption.
He said that the carelessness of their conduct reflects that they harbour no appreciation for the responsibilities that are bestowed on them as police officers and dishonour what a police officer should stand for in society.
He further added that due to the incident, the complainant has been traumatised and lives in utter fear and lost all trust in the police.