By Loushe Jordaan
Former Western Cape Police Commissioner, Arno Lamoer, Police brigadiers Darius van Der Ross and Collin Govender were sentenced to six, two and four years imprisonment respectively by the High Court in Cape Town yesterday. Businessman Saleem Dawjee, was given an effective six years in prison. The men were convicted on charges of fraud and corruption, after pleading guilty.
The South African Police Union has welcomed the prison sentences imposed on former Western Lamoer, Van Der Ross and Govender. SAPU general secretary Oscar Skommere says it is a shame that senior police officers such as Govender, Van der Ross and Lamoer ended up in jail because of corruption.
“SAPU welcomes this sentence with a heavy heart. We cannot enjoy the sentencing of former senior officers like these,” Skommere said.
“We are only consoled by the fact that this proves once again, that we are all equal before the law,” Skommere states.
Skommere added that the union called on other men and women in blue to not fall into the trap of becoming criminals themselves.
“This heavy sentence will be used as a lesson to those few rotten elements who are tarnishing the good name of the SAPS,” he said.
“Those few rotten elements will be exposed and dealt with accordingly. It is a shame that the SAPS continues to be discredited by officers like these, who allow their selfishness and greed to compromise their judgement,” Skommere stressed.
Western Cape Minister of Community Safety, Dan Plato says the sentencing handed down to Lamoer and co convicted, brings finality a regrettable stain to the image of police as servants of the people in the Province. Plato says it regettable because a situation where top ranking police officials in the Province could even be considered to be corrupt, let alone proven in court and sentenced to jail should have never been fathomable in the first place.
“I was shocked when the general was charged of 109 charges and at the time it left a bad taste in the mouth of many police officers. Police officers should be an example to the public, not partake in criminality,” Plato states.
Dan adds that Lamoer and other police officers who think they are above the law make it difficult for community members to trust them as many people say that police officials are being paid by criminals to overlook criminal activities such as drug dealing, theft etc.
“There are still far too many reports from community members saying that brown envelopes are given to police officers by gang leaders. Members of the public say police are in cahoots with gangsters, and that gives the police as a whole a bad name and gives people the impression that the police are also a bad entity,” Plato adds.
Arno Lamoer, will apply for bail in the High Court in Cape Town today pending the outcome of a leave to appeal application on Monday. VOC