Mystery man implicated in airport heist ’on police payroll’ while in prison

Captain Morris ‘KGB’ Tshabalala appears in the Sasolburg Magistrate’s Court in connection with the February 16 attack on a cash-in-transit van. File photo.
Picture: Alon Skuy

A covert crime intelligence officer was on the police’s payroll while he was in prison for armed robbery‚ according to documents obtained by TimesLIVE.

Captain Morris “KGB” Tshabalala appeared in the Pretoria Commercial Crimes Court on Thursday on fraud‚ corruption and theft charges. He is due to appear in court for a formal bail application.

While police have denied that Tshabalala was employed by them while in prison‚ documents in TimesLIVE’s possession seem to show a different scenario.

Police spokesman Brigadier Vish Naidoo said Tshabalala had not been on the SAPS payroll since his sentencing in 2013.

Tshabalala was imprisoned in the Groenpunt maximum security prison from 2013 to 2015 for his role in a cash-in-transit heist in Mamelodi township in 1994.

He had been put behind bars in 2013 after being arrested for a cash-in-transit heist in Sasolburg.

He is under investigation for the multimillion-rand heist at OR Tambo International Airport last year.

Tshabalala‚ who TimesLIVE has been told began working again as a SAPS covert crime intelligence officer last year, was acquitted in the Sasolburg heist trial.

Naidoo declined to comment on how Tshabalala had joined the police despite being convicted for the Mamelodi heist‚ his roles within the SAPS or who authorised his current re-employment into the covert crime intelligence unit.

A person with a criminal record can be re-enrolled only with the authorisation of the national police commissioner.

Naidoo said: “Given the nature of the environment Tshabalala was once part of‚ and that there is a court process currently under way in which there may be a need to provide certain information‚ we will not be responding to your query in detail.”

Tshabalala appeared in court on Thursday after he was arrested on Tuesday by Independent Police Investigative Directorate [Ipid] officers as he checked in with his parole officer in Pretoria.

His arrest is believed to have come after complaints from fellow officers after he returned to duty last year.

He was arrested for allegedly fleecing the SAPS secret services account of R563 000. The account is meant to be used for operational purposes.

Tshabalala allegedly inflated invoices for the installation of blinds in two police safe houses in Pretoria.

Asked on Thursday by the magistrate whether Tshabalala was employed by the police‚ his attorney said that “in a nutshell” he was in the intelligence services.

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