ATM ropes in advocate Malesela Teffo as it goes after top cops in Phala Phala 'cover-up'

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  • The ATM has roped in advocate Malesela Teffo as it submitted its sworn affidavit to Independent Police Investigative Directorate.
  • The sworn affidavit was the missing piece before IPID could make a determination on whether to investigate top cops’ conduct regarding an alleged Phala Phala cover-up. 
  • IPID investigators will now write a report to their head, who will take the decision on whether to investigate or not.

The ATM wants the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) to investigate top cops for their involvement in the alleged Phala Phala cover-up.

The ATM first approached the police watchdog on 21 June, asking that it investigate claims top cops knew about the alleged Phala Phala burglary, theft, and related matters but covered them up. 

In its response to the party, IPID said in order for the directorate to register and investigate the case, a sworn statement from ATM leader Vuyolwethu Zungula as the complainant would be needed. 

On Monday, Zungula, ATM national spokesperson Mzwanele Manyi and the party's legal advisor, advocate Malesela Teffo submitted the sworn statement to IPID. 

Teffo has represented some of the accused in the Senzo Meyiwa case. 

In his affidavit, Zungula cited the alleged failure to report a crime in terms of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act (PRECCA) by the head of the Presidential Protection Unit, Major-General Wally Rhoode, and his subordinates, who are police employees, and might be investigated by IPID.

READ | Phala Phala: ATM wants IPID to investigate top cop, his predecessor for alleged involvement

Zungula also asked IPID to investigate the alleged failure by members of the Presidential Protection Unit to report prescribed offences in terms of Section 13(2) of the SAPS Act 68 of 1995 when embarking on undercover investigations.

He said top cops failed to report prescribed offences in terms Section 13 of the SAPS Act 68 of 1995 required when embarking on undercover investigations when they allegedly assisted Rhoode and members of his unit.   

Advocate Malesela Teffo in court
Advocate Malesela Teffo in court.

The ATM leader also cited the unlawful apprehension of suspects and unlawful handling of stolen loot, including not reporting it to the police. 

Zungula wants IPID to look into claims of unlawful collaboration of former police members with serving members of the Crime Investigating unit, as well as the alleged unlawful interrogation of suspects. 

With regards to Rhoode, whom Zungula he as the mastermind of the unlawful conduct, the ATM leader requested IPID also investigate him for the unlawful border crossing as he is said to have pursued the suspects to neighbouring Namibia. 

READ | Phala Phala cleaner spins story of denial in burglary scandal

He also urged IPID investigators, during the more than two-hour-long discussion on Monday, to probe the unlawful "use of official government resources in the alleged bribery of suspects to conceal the events that took place at Phala Phala on 9 February 2020". 

Malesela Teffo, Mzwanele Manyi, Vuyolwethu Zungula and two other party leaders outside the IPID offices.

Besides Rhoode, Zungula also named national police commissioner Fannie Masemola and his predecessor, Khehla Sitole, as other top cops of interest, alleging they knew about the "secretive and off-the-books police investigation into the burglary at President Cyril Ramaphosa's Phala Phala farm two years ago". 

Zungula said the ATM had roped in Teffo "because of his extensive knowledge of police conduct given that he was working in the SAPS and also prosecuted cases involving police conducted". 

Among the evidence provided by Zungula to IPID was the sworn affidavit by former spy boss Arthur Fraser, an official media statement from the inspector-general of the Namibian Police Force, Lieutenant-General Sebastian Ndeitunga, dated 16 June 2022, and an accompanying document marked confidential and signed by Commissioner Nelius Becker of the Windhoek police.

READ | Speaker protecting Ramaphosa by refusing to set up committee to probe Phala Phala theft - DA

He also provided IPID with new coverage of the alleged Phala Phala theft and cover-up as part of the evidence. 

Speaking to News24, IPID spokesperson Lizzy Suping confirmed the meeting had taken place and indicated it was now up to the investigators who met Zungula and his team to submit a report to the IPID head of who would have the final say on when and if an investigation would go forward. 

Suping said no confirmation should be expected on Monday. 

Zungula, however, indicated the investigators had informed him some of the things he had asked them to investigate did fall under their jurisdiction. As such, it was encouraging for him and his party the matter would be investigated. 

He added should there be delays in looking into the matter, the ATM would again engage with Teffo on what steps the party could take to hold Ramaphosa accountable. 

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