Three Western Cape police officers have been arrested for armed robbery, defeating the ends of justice and kidnapping, after "intercepting" a man transporting poached abalone, police said on Sunday.
Spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Andrè Traut said the three, aged between 28 and 30, belonged to the Major Offences Reaction Team and were arrested on Thursday when they reported for duty.
The incident they are embroiled in occurred on July 21, when the driver of a mini-bus taxi was pulled over by them in Somerset West, while they were on duty.
The driver was apparently ferrying poached abalone from Hermanus to Cape Town in his taxi.
Abalone is a high value mollusc delicacy on the export market.
"One of the police members drove the taxi to his residence, where the abalone was allegedly offloaded," said Traut.
The driver was dropped off not far from where he was kidnapped and instructed to go back to Hermanus and, while walking towards Sir Lowry's Pass, he found his taxi without the abalone.
"The matter was reported to police and the investigation led us to the members," said Traut.
Western Cape acting commissioner Lieutenant General Sindile Mfazi welcomed the arrests, saying there was "no space for criminals" in the police.
The constables will appear in court in Somerset West on Monday.