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Yes, South African police van was used for illegal dumping

Images of a South African Police Service (SAPS) van, apparently dumping refuse, have been circulating on Facebook in South Africa since September 2019. 

The video shows a man in civilian clothes off-loading paper waste from the back of a marked SAPS van. There are no uniformed officers in the video. 

Posts on social media claim this is illegal dumping – disposing of garbage in undesignated areas, an issue causing concern across South Africa. 

The incident, which is said to have taken place in Middelburg in the north-eastern province of Mpumalanga, has caused a backlash against the police on social media. 

But what are the facts?

Private garage used SAPS van for dumping, without consent

According to SAPS spokesperson Brigadier Leonard Hlathi, the police van was being used by a private company, hired to panel-beat the van. 

He said: “The state garage outsourced the vehicle to the private company as is normal practice. It is then that it was used by people from the private company to dump litter as seen in the video.”

SAPS confirmed that no police officers were involved. 

According to Brig Hlathi, SAPS opened a case docket against the private garage for “using a vehicle without the owner’s consent”. The van was subsequently fixed and returned to SAPS. – Lloyd Hazvineyi

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