Two police officers have been sentenced to 30 years behind bars on drug-related charges.

Raesibe Melda Ndukula and Faith Makhosazane Mtambo were sentenced in the Kempton Park Magistrate’s Court this week.

According to Phindi Mjonondwane, National Prosecuting Authority regional spokesperson the officers were previously stationed at OR Tambo International Airport (ORTIA).

Mjonondwane said “The officers were convicted on charges of contravention of the Drug and Drug Trafficking Act (possession of drugs), defeating the administration of justice, and theft in August 2020”.

They were both charged, together with a South African Airways flight attendant, Lebogang Paulinah Tshabalala, who has entered into a plea and sentence agreement with the State.

She said “Tshabalala was sentenced to five years, wholly suspended sentence, on condition that she will turn State witness and testify against the two officers”.

In March 2013, Tshabalala was a flight attendant on a flight from OR Tambo to Sao Paolo.

When the flight returned to the country, Tshabalala was arrested on arrival after she was found in possession of drugs by customs officials from the South African Revenue Service.

She further said “The officials handed over the drugs to Ndukula, who in turn stole the drugs, together with Mtambo, instead of retaining them as exhibits”.

Mjonondwane also said, after their conviction and sentence, the officers successfully applied for leave to appeal.

“They will return to court to apply for bail pending their appeal to the High Court on a date yet to be announced.”

Meanwhile, Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Jacob Serepo said drug-related offences were prevalent at OR Tambo International Airport.

Serepo pleaded with the court to pass a sentence that “frowns upon criminal conduct, especially perpetrated by the accused persons who were police officers at the time of the incident”.

He said the accused had abused the authority that they had as police officers and as such acted dishonestly.