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Four Police Trainees Accused of Possessing Live Ammunition Freed due to Insufficient Evidence

Published September 21, 2023
9 months ago

Four police trainees were spared prosecution after charges against them were dropped due to insufficient evidence. The individuals, three men and one woman, were taken into custody at the Philippi Police Training College over the weekend following a raid and were expected to face the court on Tuesday.

Eric Ntabazalila, spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) announced, "The matter was not enrolled due to insufficient evidence.”

Athlenda Mathe, a police spokesperson, confirmed the arrests asserting that the trainees allegedly didn't hand in all their rounds after a day of training at the shooting range. When searched on their person, each trainee was found in possession of a live round. Mathe said, “The accused appeared at the Philippi Magistrate’s court and following the court session, internal departmental processes in line with the South African Police Service (SAPS) 2016 disciplinary regulations are presently underway.”

Simon Rakgokong, provincial secretary of the South African Police Union (Sapu), supported the release of the trainees by highlighting the principle of presumption of innocence until guilt is proven.

Harboring concerns about the vetting process at the SAPS training colleges, Ian Cameron, community safety director for civil rights organisation Action Society, expressed disapproval stating, "We have reported application fraud by the trainees at the colleges several times."

Earlier this year, bribery allegations regarding the SAPS trainee selection processes surfaced when the police confirmed the arrest of three suspects for alleged irregularities in the recruitment process.

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