South Africa News

Ex-Minister Nhleko denies special group he appointed interfered with Ipid’s work

Former Police Minister Nathi Nhleko has denied that the reference group he personally appointed to advise him interfered with the work of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid).

He said the group was expected to look into matters, including long-time suspensions, such as that of former crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli, the efficiency of the South African Police Service (SAPS), and the illegal rendition of Zimbabweans.

Nhleko said he was concerned that there were two reports into the Zimbabwe renditions: one saying that former Hawks bosses Anwa Dramat and Shadrack Sibiya were implicated in the renditions and should be criminally charged, while another said they were not.

“The first report by the reference group identified and alluded to the transgressions that were committed in relation to the illegal Zimbabwean national. I said I heard what they had found, but I said there was a need for further work. For me it was important to establish why they had two reports.”

On Monday, he also responded to claims made by former Ipid head Robert McBride.

Nhleko has defended his decision to hire Leon Mbangwa, who was allegedly an illegal immigrant.

McBride told the state capture commission of inquiry that Nhleko employed a Zimbabwean convicted fraudster who had no security clearance as chief of staff.

However, on Monday, Nhleko told the commission that Mbangwa was already in the public service system when he employed him, and he had no way of knowing that he was undocumented.

He also said it was established that Mbangwa was a South African by descent and Home Affairs was ordered by court to grant him citizenship, but it never did.

Meanwhile, McBride said that he would not be able to appear at the state capture commission of inquiry on Monday for cross-examination by Nhleko.

In 2019, McBride told the commission that Nhleko personally interfered in a supposedly independent investigation as part of a plan to get him out of Ipid.

The inquiry’s chairperson, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, granted McBride’s request for more time before facing Nhleko.


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Thando Thabethe and Jaji Abolore

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