Police struggle to answer questions at Moerane Commission

2018-02-20 22:06
Glebelands Hostel. (Gallo Images)

Glebelands Hostel. (Gallo Images)

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Durban – A senior police official struggled to answer the Moerane Commission on how a resident of Glebelands Hostel was killed outside court after being assigned a police escort.

Questions from commissioner Marumo Moerane on the death of Sipho Ndovela left Major General Dumezweni Chiliza tongue-tied. 

Ndovela was killed outside the Umlazi Magistrate's Court on May 18, 2015, after being shot by Mxoleleni Bhani.

READ: Glebelands hostel is dirty, overcrowded, dangerous

Ndovela was meant to have a police escort with him all day, but was dropped off at court by two detectives who thereafter left him alone.

"Only after he was shot and killed outside Umlazi court did I come to know what truly transpired," Chiliza said.

He continued: "It was just a captain that knew there was a threat against this person. The police took him and left him inside the court and told him that when he is finished, to call the officers and wait inside."

Warnings to police

Chiliza said that Ndovela did call the officers after court proceedings, but did not wait inside.

"I am not sure why he went outside, maybe he got excited because the case against him was withdrawn. When he walked out, he was shot from behind."

The commission heard how a letter, detailing that Ndovela's life was in danger, was sent to all levels of the police service, but the panel of six senior police officials present at the commission neither confirmed nor denied knowledge of the letter at the time.

The officers said the letter came when suspended provincial commissioner Mmamonnye Ngobeni was in office, however, Moerane said that the service was institutional.

"This means that no matter who is in office, the letter would go into a file. Maybe the answer is that no effort has been made to seek the information. I do not know. I assume that the information is there if such a letter was written. If there was a response then it would be on file."

Moerane further pushed Chiliza, telling him "you know something about the Ndovela matter" and asking him to comment on it as it was in the public sphere.

No evidence of Glebelands 'hitmen', says officer

"It was a shock to us when we heard he was killed," he said.

Moerane asked why the officers guarding Ndovela "would let him out of their sight". He said that with all the written warnings it was surprising that the officers left him alone.

"They left Ndovela with the court orderly. There was a disciplinary inquiry for the officers, but I do not know what the outcome was."

Chiliza also denied that Glebelands Hostel was a haven for hitmen as the commission had heard in a previous sitting.

"I was not aware of any of that. There has been a lot of information that money has been collected, but never one person who came forward and said that."

The police testimony continues on Wednesday. 

Read more on:    marumo moerane  |  glebelands hostel  |  moerane commission

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