Police witch-hunt for Mahlobo's 'slave' cops

2018-01-07 06:03

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Police management has embarked on a witch-hunt to sniff out officers who may have spoken out about unsafe and unbearable conditions at Energy Minister David Mahlobo’s private house.

City Press was told that officers had been asked to hand over their cellphones to try to trace who had been in contact with the newspaper.

They had also been questioned individually; others had been asked by management to spy and rat on their colleagues.

“This matter has angered management and they have threatened to take our cellphones,” said a source, who cannot be named for fear of reprisal.

“They suspect many people [of speaking out]. We are not sure what they are going to find and do afterwards.”

City Press reported two weeks ago that members of the protection and security services unit were still being deployed to Mahlobo’s private house in Mbombela despite a letter dated December 8 2017 from the unit’s acting divisional commissioner Major-General Othlia Moutlane instructing the unit to withdraw the officers.

The police officers, speaking on condition of anonymity, had complained their safety was compromised because there was inadequate light in the yard and the house had neither a wall nor a guard house.

On-duty officers sat in a “smelly” garage with old sofas and used a lamp to fill an occurrence book, they said.

According to the unit’s static protection standard operating procedures document, police are not required to guard private residences.

They are responsible only for protecting VIPs at Parliament, provincial legislatures, ministerial estates, residences, offices and complexes and premiers’ and presidential residences and offices.

It says only private residences that are “occupied on a regular basis” should be protected.

The source said they have been complaining since last year.

Moutlane’s office conducted an investigation in December and ordered the withdrawal of the police.

The source said the only reason they were ordered to continue guarding the property was that Mahlobo was close to President Jacob Zuma.

National police spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo declined to comment, saying he could not confirm or deny if there was an investigation.

“Should such investigations be conducted, they will be internal in nature and will remain as such. Therefore, I am not at liberty to confirm or deny such an investigation.

“We have at no stage confirmed or denied protection for any VIP, including the minister you are referring to, and this approach is for security reasons,” he said.

The police have been guarding Mahlobo’s house for the past three years since President Jacob Zuma appointed him state security minister.

Mahlobo was deployed to the department of energy during the October Cabinet reshuffle.

Read more on:    david mahlobo  |  jacob zuma  |  cabinet reshuffle

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