File picture: Skyler Reid
Cape Town – Two police officials were fined heavily on Wednesday, one for theft and the other for defeating the ends of justice.
They appeared in two different cases, in the Bellville Specialised Commercial Crime Court, before magistrate Sabrina Sonnenberg.
The higher-ranking of the two, Warrant Officer Gert van der Merwe, 46, previously second in command of the Gordon’s Bay police, was fined R30 000 or three years jail, on a charge of defeating the ends of justice.
He was not permitted to pay the fine in monthly installments, as requested by defence attorney Ludolph Joubert, and had to pay in full before the close of business on Wednesday, or go to prison. It is not known if he paid.
The other, Kwanda Mtwesi, 34, formerly a constable based at Philippi on the Cape Flats, was fined R10 000 or 12 months for theft.
In addition to the fine, he was sentenced to four years jail, conditionally suspended for four years.
Mtwesi also had to pay the fine in full by the close of business on Wednesday, and did so.
Van der Merwe was the investigating detective in a Gordon’s Bay fraud matter, involving R350 000. The magistrate said he went beyond his duty as an investigating officer by acting as a “middle man” in trying to negotiate an out-of-court settlement between the complainant and the accused in the case.
He falsely informed the complainant that there was a court order against the accused to repay the R350 000 in monthly installments of R3 000.
In order to persuade the complainant to withdraw the fraud charge, Van der Merwe produced a fake court order on a letterhead of the National Prosecuting Authority.
Had there in fact been such a court order, it would have been on a formal judicial document, and not a letterhead, the magistrate said.
Although Van der Merwe had no right to endorse the investigation docket as withdrawn, he did so, and this amounted to defeating the ends of justice, the magistrate ruled.
Prosecutor Xolile Jonas told the court that the fraud case was in fact still pending, but should have been finalised long ago.
The prosecutor called for a prison sentence, with the option of a fine.
Mtwesi was on crime-prevention duty around the farms in the Philippi area on the Cape Flats, when he searched a car driven by Jason Fish.
Mtwesi found nothing illegal in the ca…