Officer who taxied ‘stranded’ citizen 75km not guilty of corruption

An East London police officer was yesterday acquitted on corruption charges.

Constable Siviwe Ncita, 36, was arrested after he used a police van to transport a stranded member of the public from the Fleet Street police station to Komga.

The member of the public, Njabulo Shange, told East London Regional Court 2 magistrate Ignatius Kitching that he visited the Fleet Street police station late at night when he could not get a taxi to Komga in the CBD.

He said he told Ncita, who was on duty at the charge office, that he was stranded but had money and needed to get to Komga that evening as he wanted to catch another lift to Port Shepstone the following morning.

Ncita left his work station, got into a police van and transported Shange 75km to Komga for R300.

When Shange arrived at his destination he refused to pay Ncita, saying that a government car for which he paid taxes had been used to transport him. An argument ensued resulting in Shange then paying R300 to Ncita. Shange later opened a case of corruption against Ncita.

Asked why he had approached the police station for a lift from one town to another, Shange said he had always been under the impression that police were there to aid stranded commuters – something which the magistrate described as “nonsense”.

State prosecutor Bonginkosi Mafa yesterday argued that Ncita should be convicted as charged as he had abused his powers and unjustly enriched himself.

However, Ncita’s attorney Ntsikelelo Manyisane argued for an acquittal, saying the facts and merits of the case were contrary to the section stipulated under the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act of 2004.

Kitching said, “He should have been charged with the unlawful use of an official vehicle while on duty, or leaving his position whilst on duty, or theft of the petrol he used to take Mr Shange to Komga. But what the accused did does not amount to the crime under the corruption act and he is therefore not found guilty.” —

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