Court set to hear IPID's case against North West SAPS

2018-06-20 22:32
(Supplied)

(Supplied)

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The North Gauteng High Court is to hear an application on Thursday, lodged by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) which is seeking to stop SAPS members who have a personal interest in cases, from investigating the police watchdog's members.

In heads of argument, IPID says it is unlawful for police officers to conduct investigations, in which they have a personal interest, against IPID officers who are investigating them.

IPID says it seeks the declaratory relief against the investigation of three IPID investigative officers by a team of SAPS detectives in the North West, led by the North West deputy commissioner, Major General Ntebo Jan Mabula.

The application is in response to police's charging of three IPID officials, Mandlakayise Mahlangu, Temane Binang and Mantsha Raphesu.

READ: IPID's ongoing battle with North West SAPS over Phahlane heats up

The investigators have been leading the investigation into corruption and money laundering charges against the former acting commissioner Khomotso Phahlane.

An affidavit by IPID executive director Robert McBride forms part of the papers in the application. In it, he makes startling allegations about a North West detective team which is investigating Mahlangu and Binang.

Most of the members of the North West team are also being investigated by IPID for various serious offences, including torture and murder.

The respondents include Mabula, Phahlane, North West Commissioner General Baile Motshwenyane, North West provincial head of commercial crimes investigation Brigadier Daniel Pharasa Ncube, the Minister of Police, Commander of the Special Crimes Unit, Lieutenant Colonel Ismail Dawood, Provincial Head of Organised Crime Brigadier Matome Kgorane, and Provincial Police Services Colonel SM Reddy.

"The applicants contend that the North West SAPS team's investigation of the IPID officers is unlawful, as the members of the North West SAPS team are themselves presently under investigation by IPID - by the very IPID officers that they are investigating," reads IPID's heads of arguments.

ALSO READ: SAPS accused of 'plot' against IPID investigators

IPID says it is unlawful and unconstitutional for SAPS members to undertake or oversee an investigation into an IPID member when the same SAPS official has a personal interest in the investigation - or where the official is the subject of the investigation.

It also argues that police officers are constitutionally and statutorily obliged to act impartially and fairly in the exercise of their powers and performance of duty.

"The applicants seek an interdict to prevent the members of the North West SAPS team from undertaking or overseeing the investigation of the IPID officers," says IPID.

It says investigations should be conducted by members who are not subject to any investigation or have personal interest.

IPID adds that the police ministry and the national commissioner have not opposed the application.

The only people opposing the application are Phahlane, Major General Ntebo Jan Mabula and the other members of the North West SAPS team, it says.

IPID says both Phahlane and Mabula argue that there is no "genuine or actual conflict of interest in this case because the cases that IPID is investigating against them are trumped up, 'cold cases' or retaliatory cases instituted at the behest of private forensic investigator Paul O'Sullivan and Ms [Sara-Jane] Trent..."

O'Sullivan and Trent are the complainants in the IPID's case against Phahlane.

News24 reported earlier in June that corruption case against Phahlane, his wife Beauty and co-accused, Durand Snyman, had been withdrawn after the State's application for a further postponement was dismissed.

In papers, IPID says that according to Phahlane and Mabula, it has "ulterior motives in bringing this application which is to frustrate the SAPS in its work and specifically, in its investigation against IPID officers".

"The applicants do not seek any order that bars the SAPS from investigating the IPID officers per se. The applicants certainly do not contend that IPID officers are immune from investigation or prosecution or above the law," says the police watchdog.

The respondents say there is no substance in the allegations directed at the investigation team that they have a "personal interest" in the investigations that they had performed.

They say the declaratory relief is an "imprecise blanket approach and cannot be considered just and equitable relief to be granted. The enforcement of such a declaratory order, if granted would lead to abuse and is not an issue for judicial overview".

They also argue that, if such an order is granted, it would be a text book case of judicial overreach.

The respondents argue that this is a matter that should be dealt with by the Portfolio Committee on Police in Parliament.

Meanwhile, in a statement released on Thursday, the Portfolio Committee on Police extended by one week the deadline for comments on the IPID Amendment Bill.

Members of the public and interested parties are urged to submit written comments before end of business on Friday.

"The IPID Amendment Bill was published in the government gazette and [on] Parliament's website three weeks ago.

"The aim of the bill is to enact the read-in provisions of the Constitutional Court judgment that strengthens the independence of the IPID and provide for the necessary parliamentary oversight."

Those who want to submit written input can contact committee secretary Pilate Gwebu, at pgwebu@parliament.gov.za or call 021 403 2911.

Read more on:    saps  |  ipid  |  khomotso phahlane

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