Police commissioner pledges full support for state capture probe

2018-04-19 21:24
National police commissioner Lieutenant-General Khehla Sitole. (Frennie Shivambu/Gallo)

National police commissioner Lieutenant-General Khehla Sitole. (Frennie Shivambu/Gallo)

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The Hawks have police National Police Commissioner Lieutenant General Khehla Sitole's "undivided support" in ensuring they have the necessary means to investigate state capture, he told the Portfolio Committee on Police on Thursday.

Committee chairperson Francois Beukman had asked whether, given that there was a major focus on state capture, additional resources from the police budget had been allocated to the Hawks.

"Yes, I'm going to give them my undivided support," said Sitole. He said that it was part of the business case the police were taking to Treasury.

On February 28 acting Hawks head Yolisa Matakata told the committee that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) did not "hinder the investigation [into state capture], but they were hindering the progress of taking the matter to court".

She said the Hawks had a docket ready for their investigation into the Vrede dairy farm case in November 2017, but only got the go-ahead to make arrests in February.

By then fugitive Ajay Gupta already left the country.

'Cordial relationship'

A week later she and National Director of Public Prosecutions Shaun Abrahams appeared before the police committee and the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services where he denied that the NPA was dragging its feet, contradicting Matakata.

ANC MP Angelina Molebatsi, referring to the meeting with the NPA and Hawks, on Thursday said: "What was frustrating to me was, the minute you started talking you said you had a cordial relationship. There is nothing cordial about that relationship."

Matakata said when the Hawks gave the docket to the NPA in November, prosecutors were part of the decision.  

"There is a cordial relationship between the prosecutors and the investigators," Matakata said.

Molebatsi asked if the relationship had improved.

"The relationship is there," Matakata responded.

'Apology behind closed doors'

Matakata said there were some "discrepancies" in what Abrahams had presented to the committee and rather than respond there and then to Abrahams' presentation, which she hadn't seen at that stage, she would present the committee with a written response. Beukman reminded her that she still had to provide this to the committee.

Matakata said she had met with Abrahams after the meeting with the portfolio committees and Abrahams "even apologised to [her] for some of the things he said".

DA MP Dianne Kohler Barnard said: "It is fascinating to hear there was an apology behind closed doors."

"He must come here and say it," she said.

ANC MP Martha Mmola agreed with Kohler Barnard.

"That means you and Shaun Abrahams are playing us," she said.

"We are not toys. You must not do that."

Extradition

Later in the meeting, Kohler Barnard said: "There is no doubt in my mind that the dithering they (the NPA) did for six months was to give the Guptas time to go."

She asked if it was normal for the NPA to take so long to come to a decision to prosecute.

Matakata said it was difficult to say. She said some cases were with the NPA for more than a year before a decision was made and that it wasn't only the Hawks who had to deal with this, but the police and the Independent Police Investigative Directorate too.

EFF MP Phillip Mhlongo asked if extradition processes were the responsibility of the Hawks or the NPA. Matakata said that was in the hands of the NPA. She added that a decision had been made to finish the state capture investigation before extradition applications were made for suspects.


Read more on:    saps  |  hawks  |  khehla sitole  |  state capture

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