Probe into police ‘bias’

2011-03-19 18:33

Police in Mpumalanga are being investigated for their alleged bias towards Premier David Mabuza’s faction in the ANC.

Moses Dlamini, Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD) spokesperson, confirmed this week that it was investigating complaints lodged by Mpumalanga ANC provincial executive committee members Fish Mahlalela and Lassy Chiwayo.

Dlamini said Mahlalela’s complaint to the watchdog body emerged out of allegations that ­police tortured and forced ­Dumisani Mahaye to say Mahlalela paid him to instigate ­riots in Wesselton township, Ermelo, in February.

Mahaye said he was also forced to implicate Chiwayo.

“The ICD picked up [Mahlalela’s] matter after an article in City Press. Mahlalela then lodged a complaint with our Nelspruit office.

Either way, we were going to investigate this case since there had been allegations against the police,” Dlamini said.

The ICD spokesperson said that ­Chiwayo had complained that the provincial police chief in Mpumalange, Lieutenant-General Thulani Ntombela, was biased towards Mabuza when dealing with cases.

Ntombela has, in response, laid a charge of defamation of character against Chiwayo.

Chiwayo’s lawyer, Johann du Preez, said he could not comment because the matter was sub judice.

“Looking at all the incidents, one could conclude that there is a concerted effort by people with their own agenda to tarnish my name with the intention of destroying me politically,” Mahlalela said.

Brigadier Lindela Mashigo, the Mpumalanga police spokesperson, said he could not comment on a matter being investigated by ­another institution.

“It’s proper to leave this matter in the hands of the ICD,” he said.

Mahlalela, a member of the Mpumalanga legislature , and Chiwayo, the executive mayor of Mbombela city, are both ANC heavyweights in Mpumalanga, and rivals of Mabuza.

The Wesselton protests erupted after the community had accused Mabuza’s supporters in the ANC’s Gert Sibande region of manipulating candidate lists and rejecting Bongani Phakathi – a Chiwayo man – whom the community wanted as their ward councillor.

Mpumalanga safety and security MEC Vusi Shongwe – who is also ANC chairperson in the region – and Sibusiso Sigudla, a regional executive committee member, were accused of dismissing the protesters as “criminals”.

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