Pretoria – The former acting deputy prosecution’s boss in KwaZulu-Natal, Simphiwe Mlotshwa, told the Mokgoro inquiry on Friday that he was pressured to prosecute controversial cases without following protocol.
The Mokgoro inquiry was established to determine if suspended deputy national prosecutions’ boss Nomgcobo Jiba and suspended special director of public prosecutions, Lawrence Mrwebi, are fit to hold office.
Mlotshwa detailed how he received a call from Jiba in January 2012, informing him that there was a matter that had to be enrolled into the courts as a matter of urgency. He was also told there was immense "pressure" for them to do so.
He said a few days later, Jiba’s call was followed by one from the Gauteng prosecutions’ boss, advocate Andrew Chauke.
Chauke allegedly informed Mlotshwa that he had been instructed to appoint a team of prosecutors to handle prosecutions in the so-called Cato Manor death squad. There were "very sensitive security issues surrounding the matter", Mlotshwa alleged Chauke told him.
The Cato Manor death squad involved allegations about former KZN Hawks’ head, brigadier Johan Booysen, and senior detectives who were allegedly involved in racketeering and murder. The allegations have since been discredited and charges against Booysen withdrawn.
Mlotshwa said he suggested to Chauke that they speak about the issue at an upcoming senior prosecutors’ meeting.
During the meeting, Mlotshwa said Jiba asked him to sign off an indictment against the Cato Manor unit, based on a legal opinion from advocate Gerhard Nel.
Mlotshwa refused, saying he needed to satisfy himself with the facts first. When he was eventually sent the indictment, it did not contain Nel’s memorandum or other essential information.
"[This is] the difficulty I found myself languishing in. There was no case number or police station. I insisted on following due process and I was being frustrated. And as I said I was a lone ranger, swimming against the sea," he said.
African News Agency (ANA)