Hawks probe leads to lengthy prison terms for corrupt cops caught in smuggling operation
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Cape Town - A two-year investigation by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) has resulted in the conviction on Wednesday of two South African Police Service (SAPS) officers, who have been sentenced to many years in prison for corruption.
In January 2018, members of the Hawks conducted an intelligence-driven takedown operation in which two former Home Affairs officials, a civilian pretending to be from Home Affairs and three members of the SAPS deployed at the Grobler's Bridge port of entry in Limpopo province were arrested for helping criminals smuggle stolen vehicles to Botswana in exchange for money.
Constable Ratlou Alfred Moroana, 37, and Constable Mahlatsi Phillip Tselane, 34, were tried and found guilty in the Mokopane Regional Court. Moroana was sentenced to eight years' direct imprisonment, while Tselane was due to be sentenced on June 30.
On March 17, Constable Matome Herman Mafa, 40, was sentenced to seven years' imprisonment in the same case.
After Mafa’s sentencing, the provincial head of Limpopo Hawks Major-General Thobeka Jozi said: "We will make sure that our borders are not a safe passage for stolen vehicles, by intensifying our investigations. We will continue putting our ears to the ground in an effort to eradicate smuggling of stolen vehicles and other cross-border crimes.”
In August 2018, Tryphina Tshabalala, 31, and Kgomotso Morena, 37, the former Home Affairs officials, were found guilty and sentenced to 15 years' direct imprisonment each.
The civilian who pretended to be a Home Affairs official, Doris Mashaka, 38, was sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment on charges of impersonation and corruption.
The Hawks are responsible for the combating, investigation and prevention of national priority crimes, including serious organised crime, serious commercial crime and serious corruption.