Police Minister Bheki Cele has told Parliament there is a chain of corruption that extends throughout the criminal justice system.
He revealed on Thursday that five South African Police Service (SAPS) members were arrested within 24 hours this week in connection with cash-in-transit heists.
Briefing Parliament’s Police Committee, Cele did not give further details.
But he told MPs how criminals bragged about having bought everyone, from police officers to jail warders.
“They say they buy prosecutors, they buy magistrates and they buy judges. You see, it’s a question of crime running parallel to governance.”
Cele contrasted crime syndicates raking in millions from cash-in-transit heists to his own department having to cope with stretched budgets.
“The one guy was boasting. He said, ‘We don’t have a focus, we don’t have (an) auditor-general and we don’t budget. We just do things.’”
Hawks head Lieutenant-General Godfrey Lebeya told MPs that corruption in the criminal justice system is hampering efforts to tackle illegal mining, which he says poses a growing threat to the country’s security and the economy.
Lebeya says illicit mining hurts the legal mines and gives rise to other crimes, including illegal migration, human trafficking, child labour and smuggling, including firearms and explosives.