Police accuse DA of meddling in top cop’s case

2013-10-20 22:01
(Picture: Sapa)

(Picture: Sapa)

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Mbombela - Mpumalanga police have criticised the Democratic Alliance (DA) for asking about internal processes involving provincial Hawks head Major General Simon Mapiane.

This was after the DA released a statement criticising provincial police commissioner Lieutenant General Thulani Ntobela and national commissioner General Riah Phiyega for failing to discipline Mapiane, who returned to work after being given special leave.

Mapiane, who is in charge of the investigation into allegations of fraud and corruption against Kaizer Chiefs boss Bobby Motaung, was arrested on 22 May this year after being accused of falsifying travel claims.

“We cannot respond to and entertain utterances from political parties on how we handle our investigations. How are we going to work if they do not leave us to do our independent work?

"They should stick to their politics,” said Mpumalanga senior police spokesperson Brigadier Selvy Mohlala.

Mapiane has not been asked to plead to charges of fraud and forgery and is out on R1 000 bail. His trial, initially scheduled to start on 25 September, has since been postponed to 27 November.

Calling on Phiyega

DA provincial leader Anthony Benadie said his office has written to Phiyega several times and only got vague answers.

"The DA will lodge an official complaint with the Independent Police Investigative Directorate against provincial Hawks boss Major General Simon Mapyane (sic), calling for an independent investigation into his alleged fraudulent actions.

"This follows after repeated calls on national police commissioner General Riah Phiyega to suspend Major General Mapyane have fallen on deaf ears, despite additional fraud charges being added to the existing charges, when yet another falsified travel claim was discovered," said Benadie.

Benadie said an internal police investigation into Mapiane's conduct has been completed.

"To date no action has been taken against him... The DA therefore believes that investigators must continue their search for more evidence, but that Major General Mapyane’s continued presence at work may hamper the investigation and possibly compromise the process and witnesses.

“General Phiyega's failure to act against the top brass, sends a disturbing message over government’s commitment to protecting South Africa’s people against criminals and criminal behaviour,” Benadie added.

'Political noise'

Head of communication in Phiyega’s office, Lieutenant General Solomon Makgale, told African Eye News Service that Mapiane’s case was being attended to.

“The matter is receiving attention from the highest level, but we do not intend to spend lot of energy on political noise.

"The national commissioner asked for a report from the provincial commissioner of Mpumalanga, and when the report got here the national commissioner then appointed another team to further deal with the information led by a senior officer in the national, who then gave back the report last week.

“As we speak the national commissioner is applying her mind to the report and also intends to interact with the national Hawks boss about it. A decision will be communicated soon,” said Makgale.

Mapiane has asked not to comment on any of the allegations against him or the court case.

In a previous interview with Lieutenant General Ntobela, he denied rumours that Mapiane's arrest was the result of a fall-out between him and Mapiane that led to Mapiane taking over investigations into Motaung's case after there'd been little progress since 2007.

"As far as I know, Major General Mapiane and I are not enemies. We work together and, at some point, people may interpret this their own way, especially if I'm harder when I want work done. I do this to everyone at work," Ntobela told African Eye News Service at the time.

When asked why it took so long for investigations to start in the stadium case, Ntobela said the process needed time.

He said that when initial investigations failed to unearth motives for three political killings known as the January Murders, it was decided to follow the money.

"I was not happy with the investigations into the January Murders. I then asked [former national police commissioner Bheki] Cele for help and he gave me 12 specially trained investigators from around the country.

"But when they didn't get to the motive of the killings, we looked into the financial side of the investigations. That's when we made the recent arrests and the cases are in court now," said Ntobela.
Read more on:    da  |  mpumalanga  |  politics

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