Suspensions at Hawks raise corruption fears

2015-01-06 00:00

CAPE TOWN — News that another provincial head of the Hawks faces a possible dismissal have raised new fears about the fight against corruption in South Africa.

Major-General Shadrack Sibiya, head of the Hawks in Gauteng, has seven days to provide reasons why he should not be dismissed.

Sibiya was also the head of the disbanded Scorpions, which led the investigation against Lieutenant-General Richard Mdluli, suspended head of crime intelligence, who is seen as an ally of President Jacob Zuma.

Last month, Lieutenant-General Anwa Dramat, national head of the Hawks, was also suspended pending an investigation. The suspensions of both Dramat and Sibiya are linked to the extradition of Zimbabweans.

Major-General Benny Ntlemeza, who is acting as head of the Hawks in Dramat’s stead and who is very close to Mdluli, served the notice of a possible suspension on Sibiya.

Lieutenant-General Johan Booysen, head of the Hawks in KwaZulu-Natal, had earlier also been suspended, but has successfully contested his suspension.

Antonie Francis, director of the Helen Suzman Foundation, yesterday expressed concern about the suspensions.

“This pulls a dark cloud over the struggle against corruption and makes a mockery of the legal system,” Francis said, adding that the minister of police and the national commissioner owed proper explanations to South Africans. “Until this happens, everyone will rely on rumours and the whole process is suspect.”

Spokeserpson for the Hawks, Paul Ramaloko, said the investigations by the unit will not be affected.

IFP MP Albert Mncwago described the suspensions as thuggery that makes a mockery of the Consitution while DA MP Dianne Kohler Barnard said Dramat’s suspension was politicking to get rid of him because he had allegedly refused to hand the Nkandla documents to the national police commissioner.

Dramat’s legal representative Johann Nortjé gave Police Minister Nathi Nhleko until yesterday to cancel Dramat’s suspension. But Nhleko’s spokesperson Musa Zondi could not confirm nor deny if a meeting was held on the ultimatum.

Zondi said the media hinted at politicking, but there were many issues concerning Dramat needing investigation.

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