More than 1 000 police officers with criminal records will be removed from the South African Police Service (SAPS), Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa's office said on Thursday.
"SAPS is in the process of removing 1 017 officers while another 67 have left the service," said acting spokesman David Barritt in a statement.
He said the removal comes following an audit ordered by Mthethwa, which identified 1 448 officers with criminal records.
"After following the correct legal and labour processes, SAPS is now satisfied that 1 017 of its members are no longer fit to serve." He said the remaining officers were still expected to appear before the fitness board.
Mthethwa said the action showed the department was making progress in continuing efforts to rid police ranks of dishonest officers.
"Those with criminal convictions do not belong in the police force. I have made it clear to SAPS that I expect zero tolerance with regard to criminality in the police, at every level."
The process was challenging but would result in a better police service, with it being in its final stages. "The only remaining obstacle now is that a trade union has undertaken legal action in the Eastern Cape in an attempt to derail the process," the minister said. – Sapa