Ngcobo massacre: Police committee asks why Crime Intelligence didn't raise the alarm

2018-05-23 16:43
(Supplied)

(Supplied)

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Why didn't Crime Intelligence send out any warning signals about the Seven Angels Ministry in Ngcobo?

This question has remained unanswered after the police's delivery of a presentation to the Portfolio Committee on Police on Wednesday to explain interventions they had taken to improve safety at the Ngcobo police station.

The Seven Angels Ministry, which was led by seven Mancoba brothers, is at the centre of allegations relating to the massacre of five police officers and a soldier on February 21. The attack started at the police station in the rural Eastern Cape town, where the attackers looted several weapons and ammunition.

Two days later, after receiving a tip-off that some of the weapons were on the premises of the ministry, just outside Khalinyanga village, a shootout with the police ensued. It led to the death of seven people, including three of the Mancoba brothers.

"What has been the crime intelligence activities in that area?" EFF MP Phillip Mhlongo asked.

He also asked whether the money the church had made attracted the police's attention.

ALSO READ: Rights commission, MPs butt heads over Ngcobo 'warning'

DA MP Zakhele Mbhele added that he had read reports that the community raised complaints about the ministry. He asked whether there was an investigation into the "failure of crime intelligence".

Eastern Cape provincial commissioner Lieutenant General Liziwe Ntshinga told the committee that they have "beefed up the role of Crime Intelligence" since the attack on the police station.

But Mhlongo said his question about crime intelligence was only responded to "in passing".

He questioned why they didn't pick up the "proliferation of illegal weapons" at the church.

National police commissioner Lieutenant General Khehla Sitole pointed out that the committee knew that the police were in the process of turning Crime Intelligence around after the unit "couldn't reach the standard expected" of it.

According to committee chairperson Francois Beukman, the committee will meet with the recently-appointed head of the Crime Intelligence Unit, Major General Peter Jacobs, at the end of June.

Sitole also asked for the committee's help with municipalities fulfilling their mandate, saying that there was no crime prevention strategy in Ngcobo and that their by-laws were inadequate.

"Most of what needs to be done there [are] not police matters," he said.

Following questions from the committee, it seemed that the police also faced the challenge of the Department of Public Works dragging its feet.

He said, since his appointment in November, he had been waiting for the department to let him know when his office would be ready.

However, he told the committee that he took a decision two weeks ago to "occupy" the office, only to receive a warning letter from the department that he did so at his own risk.

"I've been fighting crime from under the trees," he said.

Beukman said they had met twice with the Department of Public Works about the matter during this Parliamentary term, but that the department's top management had changed.

He agreed with DA MP Dianne Kohler Barnard that a joint meeting with the police and the Department of Public Works should be held by the committee.

Read more on:    saps  |  khehla sitole  |  crime

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