On Thursday, the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) which serves as South African police watchdog arrested four police officers for allegedly shooting copper cable thieves and then selling the loot.

The directorate’s national spokesperson Ndileka Cola in a statement said that the officers from Carletonville Police Station face two charges of murder, defeating the ends of justice as well as theft of copper”.

“It is alleged that on February 11, the four police members from Carletonville intercepted copper cable from thieves and shot two African males dead. It’s further alleged that when they left the crime scene, they went to a scrap yard and sold the copper cable.”

Cola said the police officers left the two deceased males at the scene and did not report the shooting incident to IPID as required by law.

She further “The suspects will appear at the Oberholzer magistrate’s court tomorrow (Friday). The directorate continues with the investigation process”.

Meanwhile in a related incident, on Monday, IPID said it had arrested eight members of the South African Police Service for allegedly murdering a suspect while in custody after being arrested for possessing an unlicensed firearm and dagga.

According to Cola, on February 23 at around 9 pm, police officers from the Soweto crime intelligence gathering unit allegedly booked out three suspects from Lenasia police station to Protea police station.

While the officers were interrogating the first suspect, he collapsed due to a seizure, and paramedics called to the scene certified him dead.

The police officers then took the two remaining suspects back to Lenasia police station in the early hours of February 24.

Cola said “Due to the significant disjunction between the police version of what transpired and that of the two surviving suspects, as well the fact that IPID was never called into the crime scene, the directorate has reconstructed the crime scene to establish the facts of what actually occurred in that crime scene”.

“The directorate is also appointing a private pathologist to get a second opinion on the actual cause of death. The investigation process continues.”