The acting head of the police’s investigative directorate, Israel Kgamanyane, has been accused of pursuing a witch-hunt against senior managers in the Independent Police Investigative Directorate seen as linked to suspended IPID boss Robert McBride.
The IPID is tasked with independent oversight over the South African Police Service.
Kgamanyane was unsuccessful this week in pushing out three senior managers he accused of leaking information about the questionable appointment of Boniwe Sotyu as IPID deputy director of investigations in the Free State because she does not have the required qualifications. Sotyu is the daughter of the deputy police minister, Maggie Sotyu.
After the Labour Court in Johannesburg ruled that Kgama-nyane could not take any action against the three managers accused of leaking information, he attempted to transfer them from their positions.
The three include IPID spokesperson Moses Dlamini, head of support Antoinette Mphago and head of legal services Pule Maoka.
Kgamanyane apparently believed the trio were assisting McBride in his fight to be reinstated in his position.
In a letter to Dlamini on Monday, seen by the Mail & Guardian and attached to the Labour Court bid, Kgamanyane said there were serious allegations against Dlamini, which he intended to investigate. This included leaking information to the media.
At the same time, he accused Dlamini of acting in an “improper, disgraceful and unacceptable manner” while on duty. But instead of putting Dlamini on precautionary suspension, Kgamanyane said in the letter that he would transfer him to the KwaZulu-Natal office as head of investigations.
Dlamini and the other two were expected to report to their new positions the next day and failure to do so would constitute misconduct on their part.
On Thursday, the court ruled that Kgamanyane should not take any action against the trio, pending a full hearing into the matter.
Insiders in the IPID believe that this is another attempt by Kgamanyane to purge anyone he believed was close to McBride.
Kgamanyane’s phone went unanswered on Thursday.
Acting IPID spokesperson Grace Langa’s phone was switched off when the M&G tried to contact her for comment.
“The people who are suspended are those who wrote affidavits for the McBride case,” said a source close to the matter, who asked not to be named. “They are being dealt with.”
The M&G understands that the IPID’s acting chief director of corporate services, Nomkhosi Netsianda, who re-commended that Boniwe Sotyu not be appointed to the senior position, has also been suspended.
City Press reported in July that Sotyu was given the job ahead of 90 other candidates and did not have the qualifications or experience required for the position.
The newspaper reported that, of the seven shortlisted candidates, one had more than 22 years’ experience as a police officer and joined the IPID as a principal investigator.
Netsianda wrote that Sotyu’s “national diploma is not the equivalent of a recognised national diploma or degree, she does not have four years’ experience at supervisory level managing investigations as advertised” and had less than two years’ experience as a supervisor.
But Kgamanyane defended the appointment, saying everything was above board.
At the same time, it is alleged that the IPID Gauteng and Limpopo provincial heads have also been suspended because of their purported links with McBride.
The head of the IPID in Gauteng, Felicia Ntshangase, is currently suspended, pending an alleged nepotism probe.
The IPID head in Limpopo, Innocent Khuba, who headed the investigations into the rendition of Zimbabweans, and chief investigator Matthews Sesoko have also been suspended.
McBride was suspended in March this year by Police Minister Nathi Nhleko, who accused him of attempting to protect then Hawks head Anwa Dramat and Gauteng Hawks commander Shadrack Sibiya regarding the renditions matter.
McBride is fighting his suspension and has further approached the Constitutional Court to rule whether Nhleko has the power to suspend him at all.