Rally for former correctional services commissioner Vernie Petersen after state capture inquiry asked to probe his death

2019-02-24 07:17
Former correctional services commissioner Vernie Petersen. (Image via Facebook)

Former correctional services commissioner Vernie Petersen. (Image via Facebook)

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A rally is being planned to honour former correctional services commissioner Vernie Petersen, following revelations at the commission of inquiry into state capture that he tried to clean up corruption at the department.

The #Justice4Vernie group, started by Petersen's friends and family members, announced the rally and said it would be held to recognise Petersen's anti-corruption stance.

It is expected to take place at St George's Cathedral in Cape Town on March 2 and the speakers are expected to include former finance minister Trevor Manuel, former deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke and Anglican Archbishop Thabo Makgoba.

#Justice4Vernie came to life after Cope spokesperson and former ANC MP Dennis Bloem testified before the state capture commission earlier in February.

READ: ANC knew of 'havoc' and they did nothing, Dennis Bloem tells Zondo commission

Bloem testified that Petersen tried to clean up the department and "hated" corruption, but that he was suddenly moved to the Department of Sport and Recreation after only a year at correctional services.

According to the group, Petersen spent a week in hospital before undergoing a routine procedure. He became ill and died in Pretoria on February 27, 2011.

He was survived by his widow June, two sons Ruari and Dylan and three grandchildren.

Bloem asked the commission's chairperson, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, to investigate Petersen's "sudden and unexplained" death.

In a statement, #Justice4Vernie said Petersen fought tooth and nail against corruption at the Department of Correctional Services and refused to sign dodgy tenders.  

"Vernie tried in vain to ensure that the correct procedures were followed in readvertising the food contract rather than being forced to extend the existing Bosasa contract. Neither his colleagues in senior management, nor the [former] Minister of Correctional Services, Ngconde Balfour, supported him," the group said in a statement.

ALSO READ: #Justice4Vernie calls on state capture inquiry chair to probe 'sudden death'

"After several clashes with Balfour and the senior management, Vernie was moved to the Department of Sport and Recreation."

In a letter of support to the state capture commission, #Justice4Vernie said that Bloem's testimony and that of former Bosasa COO Angelo Agrizzi reminded them of the "awful period that Vernie and his family had to endure simply because he did the right thing".

"He served our country and government with the utmost dignity and ethical behaviour and should not have been vilified, victimised and subjected to death threats in the way that he had been."

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Read more on:    bosasa  |  dennis bloem  |  vernie petersen  |  state capture inquiry  |  state capture  |  corruption
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