Johannesburg – The Zondo commission will hear Law Enforcement related testimony from Terence Joubert, Colonel Welcome S Mhlongo and Captain Edward Zuma on Thursday.
On Wednesday former Police Minister Nathi Nhleko insisted that while the legal provisions he used to suspend the former head of the Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) Robert McBride were declared unconstitutional, there was no finding of wrongdoing on his part.
Nhleko spent the past few days at the Commission of Inquiry into allegations of State Capture in the public sector, including state organs, refuting testimony over the role he had played in the suspension and ultimately the dismissal of senior law enforcement officials.
This comes as Nhleko’s suspension of McBride was set aside and declared unlawful by the Constitutional Court in 2016.
At the heart of the allegations against Nhleko is the saga of the 2010 illegal rendition of Zimbabweans and the two conflicting reports prepared by Ipid on the matter which Nhleko took issue with.
McBride had accused Nhleko of choosing the first, preliminary, report by Ipid which recommended that former Hawks head Anwa Dramat and Gauteng Hawks head Shadrack Sibiya be considered for criminal prosecution over their alleged role instead of the second final report which absolved them.
The first report was prepared by Ipid investigator Innocent Kuba and signed off on January 22, 2014, before McBride took over Ipid, while the second final report was signed off on March 18 by Kuba, McBride and Ipid head of investigations Mathew Sesoko.
Nhleko however appointed private law firm, Werkmans Attorneys, to investigating the discrepancies between the reports instead of accepting McBride’s report, as he accused the directorate of tempering with the first report to absolve Dramat and Sibiya.
Dramat and Sibiya were subsequently suspended and Nhleko subsequently went ahead and suspended McBride over the reports.
The commission’s evidence leader advocate Garth Hulley grilled Nhleko on why he had directly called Kuba and instructed him to cooperate with the Werkmans private probe without having legal authority to impose his political influence over the officials of the Ipid.
“On what basis, given that you understand that you have no direct operational command over Mr Kuba, do you call him and instruct him?”Hulley asked.
Nhleko said he had issued the direct instruction as he had overall oversight responsibility for the directorate and that its head, McBride, was implicated in the probe.
Commission chairperson, Deputy Justice Raymond Zondo, also questioned Nhleko over his decision to remove McBride and his recommendation that Sesoko be removed, adding that McBride had the right to ensure that the Ipid report contained recommendations that he could justify.
“If the earlier report had a recommendation that he felt could not be justified or hand an analysis that he felt could not be justified, he may have said that ‘well, this one that will have my signature must contain what I can stand for and what I can justify’. What is wrong with that? “Justice Zondo asked.
Nhleko insisted that McBride was wrong by tempering with the first investigation without providing clear justifications.
He, however, insisted that while the legal provisions he used to suspend him were declared unconstitutional, there was no finding of wrongdoing on his part.
“The investigation clearly shows that there was no additional information in the second report. In fact, what happened is that there were certain paragraphs and material content that was expunged from the first report to construct the second report,” Nhleko said.
Justice Zondo insisted that Nhleko’s expressed concern only revealed that he disagreed with McBride’s approach and analysis regarding what the final report had to contain and recommend, and questioned why Nhleko moved to punish McBride with a suspension for holding a different view from Kuba’s initial approach.
While McBride this week failed to appear before the Commission, Nhleko is expected to return to the commission to cross-examine the former Ipid boss.