Mpumalanga cop spokesman Colonel Leonard Hlathi said this after a officer was photographed buying liquor in Malelane while wearing his uniform.
“It’s not prohibited for an officer to buy alcohol in uniform, but what is prohibited is drinking it on duty.
“Officers should rather try not to buy alcohol while in uniform and show some respect for the force,” he said.
According to Hlathi, buying alcohol while in uniform could confuse members of the public.
“Other patrons will not know whether the police officer is on or off duty,” he said.
He said while cops are allowed to buy liquor while wearing their uniform, they are not allowed to drink it until they had put on their civilian clothes.
“To drink alcohol in full uniform is against the law. The same goes for buying alcohol and loading it into a state vehicle,” said Hlathi.
When a customer questioned the cop in the liquor store last Friday, he said: “I’m thirsty, guys. They’ll have to forgive me.”
He then took the beer to his private car and drove off.
A customer who didn’t want to be named said: “No wonder people disrespect cops. How can you go to a store that sells alcohol and buy beer while you’re in full uniform?
“These police officers have become a disgrace.”