Corruption-accused Tshwane Metro Police officers accosts Private Prosecution Unit member

In a bizarre development, Tshwane Metro Police Officers accused in corruption-related charges accosted a member of AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit because they objected to being filmed. The incident happened at the Pretoria Magistrates Court on Thursday 15 June after Johnson Lebombo, Aubrey Phalane and Makgoba Raboshacia made a brief appearance.

The trio face charges of extortion, robbery, kidnapping and intimidation, and are before court on five other cases, as well as being investigated for several more. Despite this, they remain on duty as serving Tshwane Metro Police officers.

On Thursday, as Lebombo and Phalane left the courtroom, the unit’s spokesperson Barry Bateman recorded the exit. What followed was an altercation where the police officers attempted to rob Bateman of his phone, manhandled him and threatened him with arrest.

The conduct of the officers is unsurprising. “If this is the conduct of accused policemen, just imagine the bravado of police officers when they are in uniform, armed and driving with blue lights,” said Bateman.

This incident took place just a day after the Tshwane Metro Police issued a directive to all its members as a response to numerous complaints of alleged extortion and corruption by TMPD members. “Due to the high number of complaints received from the public, TMPD members are to take note that the public has the right and is encouraged to request appointment certificates from a member. The public may also either take photos of the member and his/her vehicle and/or record the occurrence in the endeavour to curb this alleged unlawful act,” it states in the directive.

In the present case, it is alleged that in September last year they pulled over a motorist and accused him of speeding – his girlfriend and their 10-year-old daughter was in the car with him. The officers allegedly disarmed him of his personal firearm, before forcing him under threat of arrest to withdraw cash from an ATM at a petrol station in Rigel Avenue in Pretoria. After this was done, the officers allegedly forced the man into the back of the police van and drove him to a desolate area, where he handed over the R4 000 he had just withdrawn and they robbed him of a further R1 000 from his wallet.

The three accused return to court on 18 July. The media are encouraged to attend the proceedings to witness firsthand the conduct of these police officers as they face these very serious charges.

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