It’s not over for Gauteng Hawks chief Shadrack Sibiya: his notice of suspension has been withdrawn, but the state told his lawyers on Wednesday that a revised notice containing additional details on the charges against Sibiya will be issued in due course.
Sibiya on Sunday obtained an urgent interdict in the Labour Court in Johannesburg against his suspension on the grounds that the Hawks had not given him sufficient information about the charges when they served him with the notice while on leave last week.
He said he was unable to defend himself based on the scant information in the notice.
His urgent application was due to be heard in the Labour Court on Wednesday. On Tuesday night, the state handed Sibiya a notice at his home saying that his suspension had been withdrawn.
In the meantime, another Hawks official has been suspended on the same charges Sibiya faces, namely the illegal rendition of Zimbabweans in 2010 and 2011.
Senior Hawks official Leslie Maluleke was served with his suspension notice on Tuesday, according to Hawks spokesperson Hangwani Mulaudzi.
It is not clear if Maluleke will challenge his suspension.
Mulaudzi confirmed that the order against Sibiya had been “provisionally withdrawn”.
Sibiya’s lawyer Victor Nkhwashu said on Wednesday that they had been puzzled by the notice issued to Sibiya while he was on holiday at the start of this year, four years after an investigation by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) into the illegal rendition of Zimbabwean nationals was believed to have cleared Sibiya.
A letter in the Mail & Guardian‘s possession, issued in January this year by Ipid, confirms that the directorate had not “recommended the suspension [or prosecution] of Major General Sibiya in its report to the NPA [National Prosecuting Authority]”.
The NPA received the report in 2014 and is investigating the matter. The report can therefore not be made public.
“Is there new evidence in the Hawks’ possession that we are not aware of, that’s what we wanted to know,” said Nkhwashu. “Why now after four years has Sibiya been suspended, and why was it necessary to do so while he was on holiday?”
Nkhwashu said it would be difficult for Sibiya, who returned to work on Monday, and his legal team to “get back to work as usual” knowing that the issue was still not finalised.
The notice of suspension said the charges related to the “illegal rendition of Zimbabwean nationals during the period 2010 and 2011”.
Sibiya said in his application to the Labour Court that the notice fails to outline in detail his role in the alleged transgressions. “In particular, the notice is vague insofar as details relating to when, where, how and against whom I allegedly transgressed.”
Without the details, he said, he was unable to provide any kind of defence.
The allegations against Sibiya, Maluleke and national Hawks boss Anwa Dramat appear to include the 2010 deportation of four Zimbabwean nationals, with the assistance of Zimbabwe’s police force.
Dramat has said they were being targeted because of high-profile cases they were investigating. He has been replaced by acting head Benny Ntlemeza.