North West deputy commissioner among 10 top cops to be criminally charged for alleged torture

North West Deputy Commissioner Major General Ntebo "Jan" Mabula and nine other members of the province's former Organised Crime Unit are expected to appear in court on charges of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, according to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID).

They are expected to appear in the Johannesburg Regional Court.

This follows a decision by the South Gauteng Director of Public Prosecutions (SGDPP) to charge them for the alleged torture of two suspects in the 2006 robbery of the Benoni SAP13 store, IPID spokesperson Moses Dlamini said in a statement.

IPID conducted the investigation and made recommendations for the team's prosecution to the SGDPP, which the Director of Public Prosecutions agreed with, Dlamini said.

"It is alleged that ten suspects, who were implicated in the Benoni robbery of R14 million, were arrested by Mabula and his team, and most ended up dead or disappeared. One was allegedly tortured and murdered in Mmakau by the same police officers. Two of the surviving three were allegedly tortured by the notorious police officers."

Had the Prevention and Combating of Torture Act been enacted before the alleged commission of the crime, they would have been charged with torture.

IPID is still awaiting a decision from the North West National Director of Public Prosecutions on whether the members will be charged for murder and torture.

A response from SAPS regarding the numerous disciplinary recommendations made against the Mabula team is still outstanding, Dlamini said.

"The non-action by the SAPS on these matters is a contravention of Section 30 of the IPID Act, which obliges SAPS to initiate disciplinary action against members within 30 days of receiving IPID recommendations."

The 10 suspects, consisting of Mabula, Adam Moahloli, Phillip Mompati, Tsietsi Mano, Samuel Kutumela, Cliford Kgorane, Ismael Dawood, Captain Makatu, and Lieutenant Colonels Manamela and Mdluli, were issued with subpoenas to appear in court next month.

The group had also recently been interdicted from counter-investigating IPID investigators by the North Gauteng High Court.

News24 had previously reported that Mabula joined forced with former acting police commissioner Khomotso Phahlane's fight-back campaign against the police watchdog.

Phahlane was charged with corruption when he enlisted the help of Mabula and his team from the North West to counter-investigate IPID forensic investigator Paul O'Sullivan and his assistant attorney Sarah-Jane Trent.

O'Sullivan, Trent and other IPID investigators were arrested last year by Mabula's team for a range of charges including corruption, fraud and racketeering. The charges were provisionally struck from the roll in the Pretoria Magistrate's Court.

Mabula was the previous head of the North West Hawks. City Press reported in 2013 that Mabula was an associate of former Crime Intelligence head Richard Mdluli, under whom he served as a detective in Potchefstroom in the North West.

In 2008, Mabula was involved in the arrest and failed prosecution of Gerrie Nel by Nomgcobo Jiba, while under under Mdluli's instruction.

The day after Nel's arrest, then police commissioner Jackie Selebi launched an urgent application in an attempt to halt the Scorpions' investigation.

He is also associated with the Hawks' investigation into the Cato Manor Death Squad.

On Jiba's instruction, he arrested KwaZulu-Natal head Major General Johan Booysens for racketeering – charges that were later declared unlawful by a court.

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