IPID is a 'massive failure', Moerane Commission hears

2017-08-16 22:31
IPID's ethics manager Amar Maharaj has told the Moerane Commission that the IPID's KZN office is dysfunctional. (Mxolisi Mngadi, News24)

IPID's ethics manager Amar Maharaj has told the Moerane Commission that the IPID's KZN office is dysfunctional. (Mxolisi Mngadi, News24)

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Durban - The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) is a "massive failure", according to its ethics manager Amar Maharaj.

Maharaj was testifying at the Moerane Commission in Durban on Wednesday.

The commission chaired by Advocate Marumo Moerane was established by premier Willies Mchunu to investigate political killings in the province.

Maharaj told the commission that the IPID's ethics office serves as an official reporting line for whistleblowers to report unlawful and irregular conduct within the organisation.

"Investigators want to go back to the SAPS because IPID is dysfunctional," he said.

He said the Glebelands Hostel "tortures" allegedly by SAPS members helped expose what was happening at IPID.

Maharaj had in August 2016, reported some of the "discrepancies" at IPID to then Public Protector Thuli Madonsela.

The commission heard that Madonsela had recommended that IPID needed to investigate those discrepancies but "nothing happened".

He said there were 1490 cases against police in KZN, including cases of torture, rape, attempted murder and "death at the hands of police", that were recorded as closed or completed in the IPID's master recommendations register without being properly investigated from 2015 to 2016.

READ HERE: Glebelands killings: Why there are no convictions

"Out of those cases only 59 cases were recommended to the NPA (National Prosecuting Authority)," he said.

He said the status of the majority of the 59 cases is "awaiting response".

'Something has to change'

Maharaj had earlier on Wednesday revealed that police were repeat offenders "because they knew IPID was dysfunctional".

Thirty three cases against KZN police officers including assault, torture and rape by policemen while in custody were, on December 30, 2014, completed by IPID without proper investigation.  The cases had also not been referred to the NPA.

Those cases were closed by the Deputy Director of Investigations in the province Len John, Maharaj said.

Some of the reasons given by IPID for the closures of those cases were "members were busy with other files" and the unavailability of an interpreter, he said.

"There's no justice for the victim," he said.

On November 30, that same year, 46 cases were completed by the KZN provincial head of IPID P Maharaj (not the witness).

There were no recommendations made to the NPA again, he revealed.

"Most of the victims are poor and cannot afford to hire an attorney to communicate with IPID. Some of the victims and their families still suffer from trauma because they were deprived of basic human rights," he said.

He blamed senior management at IPID for "putting the public interest last".

"Something has to change, someone must be held accountable for their conduct," he said.

The IPID has had a free ride until the Moerane Commission, said Maharaj who added that it was the first time he had gone public to say IPID was dysfunctional.

Mission is to kill flies

According to the quarterly risk mitigation report he made on November 12, 2014, cases of torture, murder and rape against police were "held back because they take too long to investigate".

The commission heard that IPID head Robert McBride knew about the discrepancies but did nothing.

Maharaj who vowed, "I'm quite prepared to lose my job," added that some files pertaining to cases against police were closed by investigating officers "which is not allowed".

"I have been sidelined because nobody wants to hear the truth," Maharaj said.

The audit committee should hold people accountable "but here it's a free ride".

On September 16 last year, he said he made another report to Madonsela.

He even attached a sworn affidavit from Cedric Nkabinde, IPID principal investigator in KZN.

He said Nkabinde told him more than 900 cases were closed that year because "they were chasing stats".

"The mission is to kill files," he said Nkabinde told him.

He said there were some cases recorded as "unsubstantiated cases", meaning there was no evidence to support the allegations contained in the case "when IPID cannot make a recommendation of wrongdoing against any member".

He said it was not only the KZN IPID that was dysfunctional but the whole country.

The hearing will continue on Thursday.

Read more on:    saps  |  ipid  |  durban

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