AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit yesterday in a letter to the office of the National Police Commissioner demanded answers as to why SAPS is seemingly delaying the investigation into the alleged involvement of police officials in the theft of liquor at Hennie’s Restaurant in Moreleta Park during lockdown in January of this year.
The Unit in March 2021 assisted Werner Pretorius, the owner of Hennie’s Restaurant in Moreleta Park, in laying criminal charges of fraud and theft at the Garsfontein police station against several police officers working at the station. This follows after police officers confiscated alcohol worth thousands of rands at the restaurant in an unlawful and irrational manner. The officers also unlawfully arrested the restaurant manager, Atrayo Nolte, alleging that he served alcohol to clients while the sales of alcohol were illegal due to lockdown regulations. The confiscated alcohol was kept at the Garsfontein police station for several days, even after the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) dropped all charges against Nolte. The alcohol was however returned to the restaurant after the owner’s first consultation with AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit. Apart from some of the stock being missing, some of the bottles’ contents was also replaced with tea.
Despite the fact the Genl. Khehla Sitole, the National Police Commissioner, more than six months ago, communicated to the Private Prosecution Unit that the police views this theft in a very serious light and would take the necessary steps against the relevant officials the investigation has, as of yet, amounted to nothing. Furthermore the impression is created from the letters of SAPS that police management is simply dealing with this matter in an incompetent manner. Natasha Venter, Advisor for the Private Prosecution Unit, says that it is worrying that in the police’s answers as to why no steps have been taken against these officials yet, the police simply state that the docket has been referred to the NPA and that they are awaiting a decision regarding prosecution.
According to Venter AfriForum will not tolerate such blatant dereliction of duty. “It seems that the police are reluctant to investigate suspects within their own ranks. It raises red flags when it seems that those people who are supposed to protect the community commit crimes, which are then covered up by their seniors. AfriForum will therefore continue to apply pressure to ensure that justice is done in this case.”