Police in Johannesburg have successfully arrested two individuals who were impersonating police officers and extorting “protection fees” from business owners in the area.
The suspects, aged 43 and 49, were apprehended on Wednesday evening in Houghton after a two-week-long investigation carried out by the Saps National Anti-Kidnapping Task Team in collaboration with the Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) and a private security company.
During the arrest, the police discovered that the imposters were in possession of two firearms, one of which was unlicensed and the other a replica.
Additionally, they found and seized R16,000 in cash, believed to have been obtained illegally. The suspects were also found with balaclavas and multiple cell phones, which are suspected to have been used in their criminal activities.
According to police spokesperson Athlenda Mathe, the arrested individuals will be facing charges of impersonating a police officer and being in possession of unlicensed firearms and ammunition. They are scheduled to make their first appearance before the Johannesburg Central Magistrate’s Court on Friday.
National Police Commissioner General Fannie Masemola issued a stern warning to the public, emphasizing that impersonating a police officer is a serious crime.
General Masemola assured the public that law enforcement agencies are intensifying their efforts to ensure a safer festive season with high-density operations under Operation Shanela. He urged communities to continue reporting any wrongdoing to help make their communities safe.