Three men in the running to replace head of elite crime-fighting unit
The suspension of Hawks boss Anwa Dramat this week has started a race for his job.
City Press has learnt from seven senior current and former police officers from the crime intelligence and Hawks units that those in the running for the position include former National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) integrity management unit head Prince Mokotedi, North West Hawks head Major General Ntebo “Jan” Mabula, and former Sunnyside station commander Daniel Manganye.
Mokotedi, a staunch supporter of President Jacob Zuma, was approached as early as last year and told to hold on to his NPA post while the discussions regarding his appointment were in progress.
But he resigned from the NPA in August after he was suspended following the leak of a report on former NPA prosecutor and now DA justice spokesperson Glynnis Breytenbach.
This week Mokotedi confirmed to City Press that he had been approached to head the Hawks. “The first time I was approached was last year by fellow comrades,” he said, refusing to reveal who had approached him. He is understood to be considering the job.
Another strong candidate is Mabula who led a team of 200 police officers who investigated KwaZulu-Natal Hawks boss Johan Booysen’s Cato Manor unit after allegations that it had operated as a death squad.
Mabula said yesterday he had not applied for the Hawks job and was not aware he was being considered for the position.
Two senior Hawks officials said Manganye was also approached and had started asking about the unit. He also sought advice on whether to accept the offer.
Manganye, who was a former station commander at Pretoria’s Sunnyside police station and the head of Tshwane’s community safety department, was not available for comment yesterday.
Last Wednesday, Dramat received a letter telling him his contract as head of the Hawks was coming to an end and a new head of the unit would be appointed.
Dramat, who holds the rank of deputy national commissioner in the SA Police Service, remains employed by the SAPS and is expected to be redeployed to another position.
However, his suspension this week by Police Minister Nathi Nhleko – in connection with the illegal rendition of five Zimbabweans in 2010 – could lead to internal disciplinary charges.
If he is found guilty, it would see him losing his SAPS post.
Police department spokesperson Musa Zondi said in terms of the SAPS Act, the head of the Hawks was appointed for “a non-renewable fixed term of not shorter than seven years and not exceeding 10 years”.
Dramat, who was appointed in 2009, did not apply for the post.
The position has to be advertised in terms of the new SAPS amendment Act which governs the Hawks, and job ads for the post appeared in newspapers last year.
Dramat refused to comment about his suspension and the rendition allegations this week, saying only: “I have been suspended. That’s all I am prepared to say.”
His immediate replacement, acting Hawks head Major General Benny Ntlemeza, is an ally of former crime intelligence head Richard Mdluli.
Ntlemeza wrote an intelligence report which claimed that senior police officers were conspiring against Mdluli, who had been investigated for the death of his former lover’s husband, Oupa Ramogibe.
The Hawks investigation against Mdluli in connection with Ramogibe’s killing is still continuing. Gauteng Hawks head Major General Shadrack Sibiya – who was allegedly involved in the rendition of the Zimbabweans – led the investigation in its initial stages.
Dramat, Sibiya and Pretoria Hawks boss Colonel Leslie “Cowboy” Maluleke were investigated by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate.
It concerned a 2010 case in which Zimbabwean national, Witness Ndeya (26), was travelling in a bakkie with four other Zimbabweans when he was stopped by police.
The other men, whom police say were linked to cash heists and violent crime, managed to flee and Ndeya was found with an illegal firearm behind his car seat.
The firearm was stolen from a police officer in Zimbabwe who was killed during the robbery. Ndeya was repatriated with Pritchard Tshuma, Gordon Dube and two others. Ndeya was killed a few days later, allegedly by Zimbabwean police.
A source involved in the case said: “If anyone has to go down in the Zimbabwean rendition story, it has to be ‘Cowboy’ Maluleke and Shadrack Sibiya.”
Neither Sibiya nor Maluleke have been charged for the renditions although Sibiya is widely expected to be the next one to be suspended.
Senior police sources close to Maluleke said if the matter went to court, his defence would be that the complainants in the rendition case were part of the same police unit that arrested the Zimbabwean nationals in the first place.
A police source close to Maluleke said: “Home affairs were involved and a deportation order was granted. Maluleke and officers reporting to Sibiya transported the suspects to Beitbridge where they were handed to Zimbabwean police.”
A Zimbabwean police officer who took possession of the five said they were violent criminals and “I am prepared to come to South Africa and testify if such a need arises”.
Two senior police sources said there had been a fallout between officers loyal to Mdluli and those loyal to Sibiya after the Ramogibe murder investigation.
“Those who Mdluli brought into the police service told Sibiya if he wanted to arrest Mdluli, he would do it alone. Hawks officers allegedly handed over their car keys to Sibiya, left the unit and worked under Mdluli’s confidant Colonel Nkosana “Killer” Ximba, who still works for the crime intelligence unit,” they said.