Independent Police Investigative Directorate investigator shot and killed in a suspected hit disguised as an armed robbery
The assassination of a police watchdog investigator at his farm in east Pretoria last month was ordered and paid for by the police, a hitman has alleged.
Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) investigator Mandla Mahlangu was shot and killed in a suspected hit disguised as an armed robbery.
Criminals killed Mahlangu before fleeing with a fridge and his NP200 Nissan bakkie.
Before his death, Mahlangu investigated high-profile cases against several police officers, including suspended acting police commissioner Khomotso Phahlane, and was due to testify in a crime intelligence internal inquiry into an alleged jobs-for-favours scheme within the police service.
Last week, the Gauteng Provincial Investigative Unit, along with the Hawks, made a breakthrough when they arrested a suspected hitman in Vosloorus for a taxi-related murder.
After his interrogation, the police discovered that the man they had arrested was linked to Mahlangu’s murder.
“The suspect revealed some of his accomplices in the Vosloorus murder case. He also revealed other crimes he and his accomplices committed,” said one security cluster source privy to the details of the investigation.
“The suspect has already made a confession and has been cooperating with the police; pointing out crime scenes.
"This investigation is at an advanced stage and there have been attempts to scupper the inquiry. Everyone has been warned to be tight-lipped about the details of the case,” the source revealed.
City Press has obtained a copy of the signed confession statement in which the suspect revealed that he and three of his accomplices were paid R50 000.
The suspects were also promised a bonus if they successfully carried out the hit.
In a six-page confession letter, the suspect lays bare the details.
“I was approached by my friend [name withheld], who stays in Tembisa at the shacks [informal settlement]. He told me that Baba [the senior police officer whom they refer to as father] is calling us.
"I asked him what is the problem and he told me that there is a job to do, which is to shoot someone. But he told me that the job is at the hometown, where I suspected that Baba [police officer’s name withheld] comes from and the place is in Limpopo,” the statement read.
The suspect said they met with the police officer to discuss the planning of the hit and the payment in Tembisa before they went ahead.
“He [the police officer] told us that he asked us to do the job for him at the homeland. We were told how much we were going to get paid if we did a good job. But the bonus money was not mentioned and only R50 000 was mentioned,” the statement read.
According to the statement, the suspects met again five days later and were told the target [Mahlangu] was armed and was a sharp shooter.
The police officer allegedly ordered the suspects to consult a traditional doctor to check if their plan was going to succeed.
The suspects allegedly handed their firearms to the traditional doctor for rituals.
They only proceeded with the hit after the traditional doctor gave the green light.
“When we arrived at the place that looked like a suburb, we parked our car. We met another person who showed us the area and the house. The person told us to take something [from the house] and he specially mentioned a fridge,” the statement read.
At the crime scene, the suspect said he and one of his accomplices rushed to a window after Mahlangu was seen peeping through the window.
“I heard gunshots and we pushed the door open and entered the house. We found him on the ground, but the firearm was on the floor and the lights were on.
"I suspect that the deceased was called by somebody or he received a phone call, which made him look through the window before he was shot.
"I am the one who took the firearm of the deceased. While we took the fridge, another male joined us and told us to load the fridge in a white bakkie and we followed the bakkie to another house where the bakkie was locked in a garage. The same driver gave us R50 000,” the statement read.
According to the statement, the suspects shared the money, but there was no further talk of the promised bonus.
“I never spoke to Baba since the incident and I know he is a police officer and he investigates taxi violence,” the suspect wrote.
City Press has learnt from at least three police officers that, while the suspect was arrested and in a holding cell, he was visited by a senior police officer.
“The investigating officer has already revealed to Hawks boss Godfrey Lebeya that there were attempts to derail the investigation.
"Lebeya took over the case after receiving other complaints that some police officers were attempting to conceal the involvement of the police in the murder,” the police officer said.
Hawks spokesperson Hangwani Mulaudzi would neither deny nor confirm the arrests.
“Firstly, the Hawks, together with the Gauteng Provincial Investigative Unit, are collaborating in the investigation. We are not at liberty to divulge the contents of the case, suffice to say it is at a very sensitive stage.
"Therefore, we cannot confirm or deny that there is a suspect or suspects who have been arrested. Once there is a breakthrough, we will inform the family and the media, and other interested parties will be briefed accordingly. We are investigating a case of murder and, unfortunately, we cannot get into any details,” he said.
Senior journalist | City Press
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