Private Prosecution Unit stands against corruption in solidarity with Tshwane Community Safety Department

In a show of mutual support and a stand against bribery and corruption, head of AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit, Adv. Gerrie Nel, and Tshwane Community Safety MMC, Grandi Theunissen, today attended the court appearance of three Tshwane Metro Police officers accused of extortion and robbery. Johnson Lebombo, Aubrey Phalane and Makgoba Raboshacia made a brief appearance at the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court.

Outside court, Nel said it was important to assist victims and to attend such proceedings. “We are here to support society in general – to rid our streets of armed criminal gangs. The irony is that these armed criminal gangs carry badges and wear uniforms, and their salaries are paid for by the public. We have had enough.

“In this matter we have a perfect storm of co-operation: firstly, the victims that said no; management of the Tshwane Metro Police Department that have said enough is enough; the MMC for Community Safety, Grandi Theunissen, that got involved; and the police who have accepted our assistance. We praise the SAPS and the investigating officer for his tenacity in dealing with such matters,” continues Nel.

Theunissen thanked Nel and the Private Prosecution Unit for the support. “It is absolutely necessary that we make an example of people who are a disgrace to the Tshwane Metro Police Department.

“There are good metro police officials out there, but we cannot allow suspected criminals to terrorise residents of our city. We will stand firmly against this type of behaviour, and we will do everything in our power to root it out,” concludes Theunissen.

Nel urged members of the public not to be silent victims. “We understand that it is a difficult and frustrating process, but we will support you. These alleged crimes are serious – it is in fact armed robbery. We have seen more and more instances where firearms are used to threaten the victims,” says Nel.

It is alleged that in September last year, Lebombo, Phalane and Raboshacia pulled over a motorist accused of speeding. His girlfriend and their 10-year-old daughter were also in the vehicle. 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.

In an unfortunate event outside court today, the trio accosted a press photographer who attempted to take a photo of the accused in a public street.

The case will resume on 22 August 2023. The media is invited to attend the court proceedings and to submit an application to the court in order for journalists to record and broadcast these proceedings.

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