Official denies knowing of police building
Pretoria - A senior police official has denied knowing of property mogul Roux Shabangu and a Pretoria building he intended leasing to police.
Chief operations officer Bonang Mgwenya said on Thursday she only became aware of the Sanlam Middestad building when she was invited by Cele’s former deputy and procurement head Hamilton Hlela in March 2010.
She was testifying in an inquiry into the conduct of police chief Bheki Cele, who has been suspended over his alleged role in the leasing of office space to the police.
The Middestad building, which is owned by Shabangu, had been earmarked for police headquarters.
Hlela earlier claimed Mgwenya knew of the building and possibly visited it before.
She said on Thursday: "I will not agree with that. I guess he [Hlela] can be the one to explain that statement. The only day I visited that building was the day I was invited by the deputy national commissioner (Hlela)."
Mgwenya said in her time in Pretoria, she had never seen Sanlam Middestad, which was a stone's throw away from Wachthuis which police had intended moving some units from.
"You never saw Middestad?," asked inquiry board chairperson Judge Jake Moloi.
She replied: "I work in the city but I live in Centurion and when I am in the city... most of the time I work in higher offices and knock off late and never had time to idle. I didn't know the building."
On the day of the inspection, Mgwenya said she received a call from Hlela inviting her into his office to discuss the police’s accommodation.
She was accompanied by Cele’s legal advisor Julius Molefe, who also testified to this effect.
Mgwenya said she and Molefe diverted to Hlela’s office.
She confirmed that she told Hlela of the number of police components that needed to be housed in the building, as per directive by Cele.
Cele not informed
Mgwenya said she did not inform Cele of the visit because she did not see it necessary.
While she worked in Cele’s office at the time as a major-general, she said it was not her prerogative to inform Cele about their visit in which she followed Hlela around.
"There was nothing to report back. I told [Hlela] what he needed to know."
President Jacob Zuma appointed the inquiry in October 2011 after negative findings about the leases by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela.