The role of crime intelligence in the investigation into the illegal rendition of five Zimbabweans is expected to take centre stage when the North Gauteng High Court hears the case against the three accused on May 6.
Former Hawks boss Anwa Dramat, former Gauteng Hawks head Shadrack Sibiya and colleague Leslie Maluleke appeared in the Pretoria Magistrates’ Court on Friday. They were formally charged with kidnapping, defeating the ends of justice and contravening the immigration act, before being released on R5 000 bail each.
Documents obtained by City Press reveal that the three will, in their defence, reveal how crime intelligence officers were part of the operation in which the five Zimbabweans were arrested, only to be deported later.
They will also allege that the same officers directed the outcome of the police investigation against them.
Dramat and Sibiya are expected to deny any knowledge of the illegal renditions and finger crime intelligence as the initiator and investigator of the charges.
Maluleke is expected to tell the court that there was a memorandum of understanding and a crime-fighting agreement between Zimbabwe and South Africa.
The three will also tell the court that suspended crime intelligence head Richard Mdluli instigated the investigation against them because the unit investigated him for the murder, kidnapping and assault of his ex-lover’s husband, Oupa Ramogibe.
Part of their evidence will be a statement made by Innocent Khuba – a former investigator for police watchdog the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) – who was tasked with the investigation.
In his statement, Khuba says that crime intelligence directed the Ipid investigation, but their involvement was to be kept secret. “When I began with my investigations, Ms Koekie Mbeki, the then acting executive director of Ipid, instructed me to collaborate with a member of crime intelligence, Colonel Moukangwe, in the investigation,” he said in his statement.
Khuba said Mbeki instructed him “to keep Moukangwe’s involvement in the matter secret”.
“I found Ms Mbeki’s instruction not in keeping with the departmental practices and processes. The instruction was unusual and problematic because members of crime intelligence were themselves involved in the arrest of the Zimbabwean nationals.”
Khuba wrote in his statement that he complied.
“Upon meeting with Moukangwe, he told me to work with two members from the National Prosecuting Authority, namely advocates Anthony Mosing and Billy Moeletsi. He advised me that the pair had been guiding the investigation since its inception,” he said.
Khuba added that when he wanted to discuss the investigation’s progress with Ipid’s national investigations head, Matthew Sesoko, he was told not to.
“This was the first time, and the last time, I received instruction to exclude the national head of investigation on a national project investigation in my almost 16 years of service with the department,” Khuba said.
In his statement, Khuba goes on to claim that Hawks head Major General Mthandazo Ntlemeza, who was a deputy provincial commissioner at the time, met with him and told him that his “political principals” said he [Ntlemeza] was to become the head of the police’s Hawks unit, instead of the head of Ipid – which he had earlier allegedly told Khuba he was to become.
Khuba, who feared for his life and his career, claims that Ntlemeza later visited him and told him he should not be afraid because he had met Mdluli, who promised to protect him.
City Press has seen photos – which Dramat, Sibiya and Maluleke will introduce as evidence – showing crime intelligence officers, Maluleke and his team, as well as Zimbabwean police officers at a braai at the Hawks’ headquarters in Silverton, which was held to celebrate the successful arrests.
The officers are seen holding a shotgun allegedly belonging to Zimbabwe’s police superintendent, Lawrence Chatikobo, who was allegedly killed by the Zimbabwean suspects who were illegally deported. One of these suspects was allegedly murdered.
Zimbabwe’s police sent a letter to the SA Police Service expressing their thanks to four crime intelligence officers for tracing and arresting the suspects.