Zille: Dramat paying price for investigating Zuma corruption

2015-01-20 13:45

Available information seems to suggest that Hawks head Anwa Dramat was suspended because he investigated high-level corruption, according to DA leader Helen Zille.

“Dramat’s mistake was that his forensic investigations came too close to Zuma Inc – the president [Jacob Zuma], his family and their network of patronage,” Zille claimed in her weekly newsletter.

She reached this conclusion using the “duck test”: “If something looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it is probably a duck,” she said.

“Of course, the ‘duck’ in this case refers to a purge of anyone who gets too close to investigating corruption in Zuma’s network.”She conceded, however, that “this is a very complex case”.

Zille said Zuma closed the Hawks’ predecessors, the Scorpions, while he was awaiting charges of fraud and corruption, which were subsequently withdrawn; Dramat was suspended in December even though the Constitutional Court ruled in November that a clause giving the police minister the power to do this was unconstitutional.

The DA knew, on the grounds of a meeting between Dramat’s lawyers and Robert McBride, head of the Independent Police Investigating Directorate, that Dramat was cleared of alleged involvement in renditions to Zimbabwe.

“After the Constitutional Court ruling in November, Dramat asked for the Nkandla file to be handed over to the Hawks for investigation.

“The South African Police Service did not comply, and shortly after this Dramat was suspended by [Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko].”

Zille questioned the timing of Dramat’s suspension, given that her party understood the directorate probe clearing him was concluded nine months previously.“It most certainly quacks like a duck,” she wrote.

The target of Dramat’s replacement, Major General Benny Ntlemeza, appeared to be Lieutenant General Johan Booysen, head of the Hawks in KwaZulu-Natal, because he started investigating influential people linked to Zuma, she said.

Yesterday the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria heard an application by the Helen Suzman Foundation for Nhleko’s decision to suspend Dramat to be set aside. Judgment was reserved.

Nhleko’s spokesperson Musa Zondi told reporters that the minister was prepared to meet Dramat to iron out issues.

“There is no witch-hunt. Once you take that out, anything is possible. The minister has an open mind,” he said.

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