Drug case against Thaba Patchoa suspect withdrawn

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The community of Thaba Patchoa burnt tyres in front of the house of an alleged drug dealer this morning. PHOTO: GERT VAN WYK

A case of dealing in and the possession of drugs against an alleged drug dealer in Thaba Patchoa was recently withdrawn, which sparked outrage in this small community near Tweespruit in the Free State, and led to protest action by residents.

The community marched to the suspect’s house this morning, burning tyres in front of his property. The suspect was not at the house when the angry mob arrived. The crowd later dispersed after having been addressed by Warrant-Officer Mathoka, acting station commander of the Tweespruit Police Station.

According to Free State SAPS spokesperson, Motantsi Makhele, the police discovered a dagga plantation on the suspect’s property as well as a huge amount of cash during a previous raid.

“This case was withdrawn by the prosecutor, who stated that the suspect could not be arrested for possession because he was found on the street and not on his property. The prosecutor also said that the police did not have proof that the suspect was dealing because no one came forward as a buyer. In turn, the suspect alleged that the gate to his property was locked and he would like to know how the police got access to the property.

“On Friday the Tweespruit Police Station requested an appointment with the senior prosecutor to discuss the withdrawal of the case. The meeting will take place tomorrow and will also be attended by 10 members of the community,” said Makhele.

On the accusation by community members that certain police officers were in cahoots with the suspect, Mahhele said that no police members are currently under investigation as no one has come forward with a formal complaint against any member of the police.

A separate case of possession of suspected stolen property was also registered against the suspect. He is accused of having stolen municipal property to build a feed lot for cow feed. This case is still in court.

Meanwhile, the situation in Thaba Patchoa is calm, pending the meeting with National Prosecuting Authority tomorrow. The police are still patrolling the area to monitor the situation.

Pieter Delport

pieterd@mahareng.co.za