Sitole knew about Phahlane's activities – IPID's McBride

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IPID head Robert McBride. (Frennie Shivambu, Gallo Images, file)
IPID head Robert McBride. (Frennie Shivambu, Gallo Images, file)

Police commissioner Lieutenant General Khehla Sitole knew about former acting police commissioner Khomotso Phahlane's "activities" when he was his supervisor, executive director of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) Robert McBride said at a meeting at which Sitole was present.

"Commissioner Sitole was aware of Phahlane's activities when he was his supervisor," said McBride.

Phahlane is accused of corruption.

READ: Corruption accused Beauty Phahlane still at her police post

McBride said requests for information by IPID during its investigation of the case had been met with resistance from the police, "a long song and dance about declassification".

"IPID is the friend of good policing, not the enemy," said McBride. "So the emerging resistance to our investigations should be ended immediately."

'Hit squad'

He said he and his colleagues had been intimidated, received threats and that there had been attempts to bribe them.

"There are people in this room that know what I'm talking about," he said to a room with several high-ranking police officers.

McBride has previously intimated that Phahlane and his "hit squad" were behind the alleged actions which coincided with IPID's investigation of Phahlane for corruption. He is currently standing trial with his wife Beauty, who is also a police officer and is still at her post despite IPID's recommendation that she be suspended.

McBride lambasted the police's unwillingness to be investigated.

"The SAPS (South African Police Service) must become accustomed to operating in a constitutional democracy," McBride said.

No response from Sitole

Sitole and McBride were attending a meeting of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa), to discuss the contracts between the State Information Technology Agency (SITA) and Forensic Data Analysts (FDA), which the committee earlier described as corrupt.

Sitole didn't show any reaction while McBride spoke and didn't respond to him.

DA MP Tim Brauteseth said at a previous meeting on the matter that Sitole had promised to provide IPID with files relating to the matter within 14 days, but he "broke his promise".

Sitole said that these files had to be declassified within the ambit of the law and that he requested a meeting with the minister about the matter.

Police Minister Bheki Cele also attended part of the meeting and said he had a good relationship with IPID and that McBride was the person he met most with since assuming his ministerial duties.

He also conceded that corruption was a big problem in the police.

Blackmail

He said the fact that 17 "of [their] own" had been arrested last month in the Eastern Cape pointed to this.

"I can't sit here and say that there isn't a problem," he said. "We definitely have a problem."

ALSO READ: 'Back off!' – McBride to rogue cops trying to bribe IPID

He said there were "elements in the Hawks that you think should not be there".

FDA is embroiled in a contractual dispute with the police and SITA and last month turned off three police systems because it claimed the police had not paid it.

"I hate to be blackmailed," said Cele.  

He also said the situation could not have come about without the cooperation of people in the police.

"They are being identified," he said.

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