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Reports in the press over the last few days have revealed that police officers in Rustenburg arrested and assaulted a newspaper journalist for taking photographs of officers allegedly involved in corrupt activities. This is the same town where Moss Phakoe was murdered after he tried to blow the whistle on corruption he had uncovered in the district municipality.

Ricky Dire, a journalist with the Daily Sun, was in Rustenburg on 18 January, on a case that involved police officers allegedly soliciting bribes. Dire had been contacted by shop owners asking for his help – they told him that the police had routinely asked them for bribes.

When they spotted him taking photos, the police assaulted him, said Dire in an interview with the Committee to Protect Journalists. They then arrested him, took him back to the station and charged him with intimidation and resisting arrest. The newspaper called its lawyers, and Dire was released some hours later, after the police had said he would be locked up for the weekend. The pictures on his cellphone were deleted before he got it back.

The Rustenburg SAPS also claimed that he was drunk and was insulting them, according to another report, but Dire has denied these charges and says that the insults were coming from the other direction. He acknowledged that he didn’t see money changing hands, and will appear in court on 6 February.

These conflicting reports from the SAPS and the journalist have complicated the matter, but according to the Daily Sun the matter is being investigated on several fronts.

Speaking to Corruption Watch, the Daily Sun’s deputy editor Reggy Moalusi said that Dire had given his statement to the SAPS and is waiting for feedback from them.

In the meantime the Independent Police Investigative Directorate is investigating, said Moalusi, and the newspaper's lawyers are also on the case.

“We are supporting our journalist, and we want to see justice done,” he said. “He was doing his work on the day.”

Corruption Watch has put a strong focus on corruption in the police force – in 2013 the organisation reported that it had pinpointed Sandton as the bribery hotspot for the JMPD. This was based on reports submitted to Corruption Watch, as well as data gleaned from the JMPD hotline.



Recent media reports have revealed that Rustenburg police arrested a newspaper journalist for taking photos of officers allegedly involved in soliciting bribes. This is the same town where Moss Phakoe was murdered after he tried to blow the whistle on corruption he had uncovered in the municipality.
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