Dramat: the real issue

2015-01-30 00:00

CAPE TOWN — If it was white people who were extradited, the Dramat ­debate would have been about human rights, not political interference.­

But because Lieutenant-General Anwa ­Dramat’s suspension had to do with the ­alleged illegal extradition and ­subsequent murder of Zimbabweans, the debate is about politics.

This is the opinion of Police Minister Nathi Nhleko, who asked the ­parliamentary portfolio committee onr police to dismiss Dramat, the ­suspended head of the Hawks. The committee meets today to decide if Parliament should appoint a ­committee to investigate the reasons for Dramat’s suspension. When such an ­investigation begins, the minister will have the authority to suspend the head of the Hawks. Meanwhile, Nhleko will appear again in the Pretoria High Court today, where the Helen Suzman Foundation is questioning the constitutional ­authority of Nhleko’s office to dismiss Dramat.

Nhleko yesterday gave a long ­explanation why South Africa, with its history of apartheid, could not ignore the seriousness of the allegations against Dramat. He insisted there were no “political reasons” as Dramat claims.

In a long letter to the committee, which opposition parties dismissed as a “smoke screen”, the minister said he has seen evidence that directly links Dramat and Major-General Shadrack Sibiya, the suspended head of the Hawks in Gauteng, with the extraditions.

The extradited Zimbabweans were allegedly arrested in Diepsloot by South African police, taken to the Beit Bridge border post and handed over to Zimbabwean police, who tortured the extradited people and ­allegedly murdered two.

Nhleko said after the Zimbabweans were handed over to the Zimbabwean police, Dramat allegedly thanked the Hawks officers for their good work and ordered that they keep the extradition a secret.

He said if the events after the ­extradition did take place as was claimed, or if the extradition process in any way transgressed South African laws or international responsibilities, Dramat must be held responsible for the abhorrent deed as the head of the Hawks.

Nhleko said it also seems as if the final report into the matter by the ­Independent Police Investigative ­Directorate (IPID) had been tampered with. Sister paper Beeld has learnt Nhleko was unhappy with the IPID ­report and has started his own ­investigation. The IPID report was handed to the National Prosecutions Authority (NPA) about a year ago, but to date no one has been prosecuted.

The report was not made public.

IPID head Robert McBride — who will also appear before the committee — had ordered the report to be kept under wraps. McBride said IPID’s ­investigation had been thorough and he stood by the recommendations.

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