Ekurhuleni police arrested three South African Police Service (SAPS) members on Wednesday for allegedly trying to extort R5m from a member of the mayoral committee (MMC) in charge of human settlements, Lesiba Mpya.
The City said in a statement the arrest resulted from an intelligence-driven joint operation between the SAPS and the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Police Department (EMPD).
The accusedclaimed that they were in the possession of a dossier containing evidence of alleged corruption and malfeasance committed by Mpya, mayor Mzwandile Masina, city manager Imogen Mashazi, and other senior political figures in the region.According to the statement, the accused demanded that Mpya pay an amount of R5m in order for them to "make the dossier disappear".
Mpya then approached the police and opened a case of extortion and corruption against the three police officials.
"The SAPS and EMPD proceeded to set up a joint intelligence operation in which the accused were investigated and a sting operation was formulated in order to apprehend the accused," the City said.
Mpya took part in the sting operation on Wednesday evening. He dropped the money off at a venue the three accused had chosen.
"Upon handing over the money to the accused, police authorities pounced on the three police officials and arrested them."
Viral WhatsApp messages
In addition, the accused are said to have been behind WhatsApp messages that went viral three months ago claiming that Masina's administration was engaged in corrupt activities. The messages were apparently an attempt to intimidate Masina and Mpya into paying the R5m to the police officials.
In a statement, Masina said he felt vindicated by the arrests of the three police officers.
"We must commend the swift and effective response by both the SAPS and EMPD in apprehending these three corrupt police officials in our City.
"I am glad that today, the truth is finally being unveiled on a malicious and incendiary plot to distract this administration from continuing to deliver quality services to our people. We are now fast closing in on City Officials and other individuals involved in these unscrupulous acts of corruption and extortion.
"The City of Ekurhuleni remains steadfast in its zero-tolerance approach to corruption, and we expect to make more arrests in the near future," Masina said.