Claim: Police storm workshop, take car without paying

Got this from the Transport, Community Safety and Liaison Department this afternoon. If this behaviour from SAPS is confirmed, then it is absolutely shocking. Unacceptable — especially on the part of people who are meant to protect society. I suspect that there might be more to this story — and hopefully it’ll come out — but here’s the statement from the Department MEC for now. I share it, unedited.

KWAZULU-Natal MEC for Transport, Community Safety & Liaison, Mr Willies Mchunu, has requested the Independent Police Investigative Directorate to investigate an alleged offence committed by members of the Amanzimtoti and Umlazi police station.

MEC Mchunu received a report to the effect that some members of the Amanzimtoti Police Stations and TRT members from Umlazi allegedly stormed a vehicle repair workshop in Amanzimtoti and reclaimed a Police member’s vehicle without paying for it.

It is alleged that during December 2012, Warrant Officer SL Boya of Amanzimtoti took his private vehicle to Barry’s Auto Clinic at Amanzimtoti for repairs. He was quoted for R25 000-00 for the repairs, which he accepted. Work began on the vehicle. The work was completed in January 2013. Warrant Officer SL Boya then paid R8 000-00 and was informed that a fee of R 300-00 a day will be charged for storage, to which he agreed. After 120 days the owner of the workshop informed Warrant Officer SL Boya that he is now going to hand the matter over to his attorneys and he is going to sell the vehicle to recover his costs. Warrant Officer then paid the owner for repairs undertaken, but did not pay the storage fees.
It is alleged that at about 16h00 on 20 May 2013 Warrant Officer SL Boya arrived at the said address with eight other police members (uniformed) in three marked police vehicles. While the manager Mr Colleen Peter Ballard was on the phone to the owner of the workshop informing him that police officials were at his premises, Warrant Officer Boya opened the roller door, which was closed. A tow truck (private) was driven into the workshop and towed the vehicle out of the garage.
On enquiry with the Provincial Commissioner, Lt General BM Ngobeni she responded as follows:

1. The Provincial Commissioner has been made aware of the misconduct that has been committed by the members from the above mentioned Police Stations;
2. Warrant Officer SL Boya was on duty and using state vehicle when he proceeded to Barry’s Auto Clinic and forcefully removed his private vehicle without Mr Barry’s consent;
3. All other Police officers were on duty and were not authorised by their Commanders to give support or assist Warrant Officer Boya to retrieve his vehicle from Barry’s Auto Clinic. Their mere presence at Barry’s Auto Clinic extremely intimidated Mr Collen Ballard which enabled them to fulfil their actions.
4. A CCTV footage was obtained and the vehicles which were used were identified as follows:

• SAP BRZ 434 B Mecerdes Benz Vito belonging to Umlazi TRT;
• SAP BRZ 328 B BMW belonging to Umlazi TRT;
• SAP BSW 293 B Nissan Hardbody belonging to SAPS Amanzimtoti;
• SAP BSN 074 B Toyota Hi-Lux belonging to SAPS Amanzimtoti;
• SAP BST 478 B Nissan Hardbody belonging to SAPS Amanzimtoti;
SAPS members who are drivers of these vehicles were also identified. Some from Umlazi TRT and some from Amanzimtoti police station.

5. A criminal case has been opened as per Amanzimtoti CAS 294/05/2013 house breaking business premises and intimidation.
6. Lt Colonel Govender has been appointed to investigate the alleged misconduct in terms of the SAPS Disciplinary Regulations.
7. Once the SAPS Departmental investigation has been finalised, the disciplinary steps will be instituted against the members involved.

In a letter to Ms Koekie Mbeki, Acting Executive Director: Independent Police Investigative Directorate, MEC Mchunu noted that the Provincial Commissioner has appointed Lt Col Govender to investigate these allegations in terms of the SAPS Disciplinary Regulations.

“However, due to the fact that the reports contain allegations of an offence committed by the SAPS members, I would like the Independent Police Investigative Directorate to conduct an investigation into the allegations as a matter of extreme urgency”, said Mchunu.

This week (Wednesday, June 5, 2013) MEC Mchunu tabled a report to the legislature on this matter, adding that his department was against any sort of “criminality”

“”We are against any sort of criminality and intimidation in our Province regardless of who conducts it. The MEC and the Department condemn these illegal actions in the strongest possible terms.
“We also commend the prompt actions of the Provincial Commissioner, Lt General BM Ngobeni in dealing with this matter. The Department of Community Safety and Liaison will also monitor the processes to ensure that proper action is taken in this matter,” said Mchunu.

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