Taxi boss: DPP to explain

2013-09-18 00:00

GAUTENG’S director of public prosecutions and a South Gauteng state advocate have been ordered to appear in the high court in Pietermaritzburg on Monday to explain why lawyers acting for slain KZN taxi boss Bongani Mkhize should not have access to police dockets relating to his death.

Mkhize’s family alleges that he was murdered in February 2009 by members of the Cato Manor Organised Crime Unit, while police maintain that he was shot lawfully after he opened fire on police while driving in Umgeni Road, Durban.

Police allege that at the time Mkhize was a suspect in the murder of traditional leader Nkosi Mbongeleni Zondi in 2009.

Mkhize’s lawyers want access to the police dockets relating to both cases.

Mkhize’s shooting also forms part of the multiple murder charges currently facing former KZN Hawks boss General Johan Booysen and members of the organised crime unit under him.

The Mkhize family lawyer, Petrus Coet­zee, told The Witness yesterday that it was ironic that police were defending the civil damages claim by Mkhize’s wife, Fakazile, and four children for R2,3 million on grounds that the shooting happened in self defence, while on the other hand the police are being prosecuted for the very same shooting.

In terms of a court order granted by Judge Rashid Vahed, the DPP for Gauteng (believed to be advocate Andrew Chauke) and advocate G.S. Maema of the DPP’s office in South Gauteng have been called to appear before the court on Monday.

They have been ordered to show why the Mkhize family lawyers should not be allowed to inspect the relevant police dockets at the offices of the state attorney in Durban within two weeks and to make copies of them.

The DPP and advocate Maema were also ordered to show cause why they should not be held personally liable for the costs of the application.

In an affidavit before court, Brigadier Wayne McCullough from the SAPS provincial legal services division, explained the inability of the minister of police to comply with an earlier court order granted on December 11, last year to make relevant documents available.

He said while attending a conference in Pretoria on January 15 and 18 this year, he had made inquiries about the whereabouts of the original docket at SAPS national legal services. He also informed the KZN state attorney he would bring the original docket with him to Durban as he was under the impression that it was being dealt with at the SAPS national office.

“However, I could not find or obtain the docket whilst I was in Pretoria after making several attempts and was subsequently informed … that it was in the possession of the national office of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate based in Pretoria (IPID).

McCullough said he had discovered after returning to Durban in February that the case docket had been transferred to a Ms Williams, an investigator at the KZN office of the IPID.

When he telephoned Williams to inform her about the civil proceedings relating to the docket, she told him the “file was in good hands” as it was being handled by the IPID’s national office.

He subsequently established the docket was in the possession of the DPP in Gauteng and was “being handled by an advocate Maema”.

He said Maema confirmed telephonically that he possessed the original docket consisting of “about four lever-arch files”.

McCullough said he had asked Maema to release the docket in order to comply with a court order, but he said he was “not willing” to do so because it was given to him by the IPID and not the SAPS.

Attempts were also made by the state attorney’s office to obtain the docket to no avail, said McCullough.

He submitted that he had made “all necessary and reasonable attempts” to make the docket available to the Mkhizes’ lawyers, without success because the DPP persisted in refusing to make it available.

The minister of police was therefore not deliberately avoiding compliance with the court order, but was prevented from doing so, he said.

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