Turok: We were threatened during Pule investigation

The chairperson and registrar of Parliament's joint portfolio committee on ethics and members' interests were allegedly threatened with harm while conducting their investigation into the conduct of former communications minister Dina Pule.

A multiparty panel appointed by the committee released its report on Wednesday, painting a damning picture of the former minister's behaviour. She was sacked from President Jacob Zuma's Cabinet last month.

The committee handed down the harshest penalties it could on Pule and recommended further investigation by the police and the National Prosecuting Authority.

The panel's report revealed that committee co-chair and ANC MP Ben Turok and committee registrar Fazela Mahomed were alerted to threats of harm against them during investigations. It is not known who made the threats.

"The panel was informed that Parliament's head of security services and management had received information of a threat to harm the chairperson of the panel and registrar and to disrupt the proceedings of the panel," the report says. "These threats were reported to the authorities and appropriate measures were taken to safeguard the work of the panel and its personnel."

Turok told TechCentral that Parliament's security officials received information that the committee's processes would be disrupted and that "the registrar and myself were going to be targeted".

The parliamentary protection service assigned Turok and Mahomed each a security detail as a result.

"The police have been involved at quite a high level and the speaker of parliament knows about it," Turok says. "We expect that someone will be investigating the basis for all of this, but it has been taken quite seriously."

He added that he was less concerned about his personal safely and far more about the threat of interference with the "legitimate processes" of Parliament. "Any threat to disrupt a formal procedure in parliament is to be examined very carefully."

Members of the parliamentary protection service continue to accompany Turok and Mahomed.

The Western Cape branch of the South African Police Service is involved in the matter.  – (c) 2013 NewsCentral Media

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Craig Wilson
Craig Wilson works from Basking Ridge, New Jersey. Producer, Writer. @cbsnews @nbcnews @Columbia Grad. Canadian, Albertan, Hatter. Opinions always mine. Craig Wilson has over 572 followers on Twitter.

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