Two of the four police officers accused of selling drugs seized by police back to drug syndicates on Wednesday pleaded with a court to release them on bail as their lives would be in danger behind bars.
Applying for bail in the Roodepoort Magistrate’s Court, captains Londro Mogosane and Victor Jwili, both 40, said dangerous criminals they had helped put behind bars might attack them.
”Imagine how it will be having to spend time with dangerous criminals I have arrested,” Jwili told the court through his lawyer Nardus Grove.
His sentiments were shared by Mogosane, who said through his lawyer Jacques van Heerden: ”I don’t think I will live to see the trial day. My life will be in danger should I remain in custody.”
The divorced father of five children said he was terrified of being locked behind bars because of death threats he once received.
”I have received death threats previously and I fear for my life,” said the officer who, until his arrest on Monday, was based at the organised crime unit in Krugersdorp.
The two, together with Senior Superintendent Dumisani Jwara (45) and Captain Caiphus Shange (43), denied selling the confiscated drugs.
Speaking through their lawyers, the men also said they would plead not guilty to further charges of fraud, theft, racketeering and defeating the ends of justice.
The prosecution team, led by advocate Michelle Bayat, intended opposing the bail application.
The four officers were arrested on Monday following an investigation spanning months.
All but Shange had previous convictions.
Jwara and Mogosane were previously convicted on charges of assault. While Jwara got a suspended sentence for the offence in 2000, Mogosane was ordered to pay a fine.
Jwili was charged with reckless driving in 2005.
In his bail application, Jwara, who is divorced with six children, said he gave lectures in crime prevention at Hammanskraal College. With a net monthly income of R18Â 000, he owned properties in Fourways and Ferndale valued at R800Â 000 and R700Â 000 respectively.
The senior police officer, who joined the South African Police Services (Saps) in 1989, said he was prepared to pay R10Â 000 bail.
”I undertake to not consult with any state witnesses or tamper with evidence,” he said.
Magistrate Delise Smit postponed the matter until Friday.
Meanwhile, the South African Police Union (Sapu) reacted with shock to the arrests.
”Although Sapu, as part of the greater South African democratic family subscribes to the principle of innocent until proven guilty, we are very disappointed at the mere fact that senior officers are accused of very serious offences like these,” acting general secretary Oscar Skommere said in a statement.
”In actual fact, it means if they will be found guilty they would have been proven to have misused their positions of authority and trust.”
Skommere said the public should view the arrests of the senior officers as an indication that the SAPS was ”serious about rooting out corruption”. — Sapa