Police Minister Bheki Cele has â€œinheritedâ€ a problem, Parliament heard on Monday.
Twenty-seven crime intelligence officers have criminal offences of which, Cele explained, 20 are related to contraventions of the Road Traffic Act and seven are of a more serious nature.
The circumstances of the seven cases are still under investigation by the newly-appointed head of the Crime Intelligence Unit, Lieutenant General Peter Jacobs. Ten of Celeâ€™s top police generals are also being probed.
In an interview with the SABC on Monday evening, Robert McBride, the head of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid), said the ten are being investigated for alleged corruption involving billions of rands.
McBride added that Ipid is also investigating how corruption had allegedly continued unhindered in the police service.
â€œThe corruption within SAPS is one of the biggest threats to the national security. The reason is simple if people are involved in thieving they wonâ€™t focus or position themselves, or concentrate on fighting crime. So every need that is created, every emergency demand that is created is about filling pockets; it is not about contributing to the fight against crime,â€ said McBride.
According to McBride, the investigations are at an advanced stage, adding that he and his team are confident that the senior police officers under investigation will soon appear in court.
Ipidâ€™s national spokesperson Moses Dlamini confirmed that the police watchdog had multiple ongoing investigations into SAPS and the crime intelligence unit looking into allegations of corruption from the lowest to the highest ranks. Dlamini also said that the case that was heading to court was that of former acting police commissioner Khomotso Phahlane.
Phalane has been accused of corruption and fraud after he allegedly gave lucrative contracts in exchange for kickbacks during his tenure as the head of SAPSâ€™s forensic division. Phalane will be back in court on June 7.
SAPS spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo told the Mail & Guardian that it supports Ipidâ€™s investigation into top police generals, however, Naidoo would not comment on the investigation pending its conclusion and the judicial process which followed.
Last month, McBride told the parliamentary portfolio committee on police, ”corruption â€“ big corruption â€“ is widespread in SAPS.” He added that the South African Police Services lacked the will to combat corruption in its leadership.
News 24 reported in March that senior police officials had attempted to hamper Ipidâ€™s investigations by classifying and then refusing to declassify documents that were needed for the investigation.
Watch the SABC segment below: