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Police top brass under fire for re-employing Captain KGB

MPs say failing to root out the bad apples is making a laughing stock of the service and putting doubt in the minds of the public.

FILE: Crime Intelligence operative Morris Tshabalala (in orange) arrives at the Pretoria Commercial Crimes Court on 19 January 2018. Picture: Barry Bateman/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - The police’s top brass has come under fire in Parliament for re-employing a Crime Intelligence officer with a known criminal record.

Morris Tshabalala, known as Captain KGB, was dismissed from the police service last week after he was arrested for allegedly defrauding the account of crime intelligence.

He had previously served a prison term and it was alleged that he was receiving a salary while in jail, which the SAPS denies.

Members of Parliament (MPs) say failing to root out the bad apples is making a laughing stock of the service and putting doubt in the minds of the public.

The matter of Tshabalala has once again raised the issue of vetting police officers.

Deputy Police Commissioner Bonang Mgwenya says Tshabalala was dishonourably dismissed while in prison in 2013, but it took more than three years to remove him from the personnel system.

A court order obtained by the unions prohibits the establishment of boards to vet police officers.

But the Democratic Alliance’s Dianne Kohler Barnard says there must be another way.

“How do we explain to civilians out there that the person who arrested them might actually be a criminal?”

Mgwenya says after vetting 1,148 officers, 491 of them were fired.

She says in some cases, police officers have had their criminal records expunged while others have disclosed convictions, mostly related to politics and committed prior to democracy.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)