Editorial: Prince’s right royal brain-teaser

Last week we confessed our bewilderment at all the vicious lawfare going on – if it’s not in the Constitutional Court, it’s in one of the high courts; it variously features the acting head of the SABC, the finance minister and the leader of a crime-fighting body … In fact, it often involves the president.

This week, we are even more confused. Barely had we begun to unravel who is waging legal war on whom and why, in various cases filling our courts and media spaces, than another baffling case comes along.

Major General Prince Mokotedi, the head of the Gauteng Hawks, has laid a long screed of charges against Robert McBride and Shadrack Sibiya, the present and former leaders of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) respectively, as well as private investigator Paul O’Sullivan and a crime intelligence officer. The charges range from treason to tax evasion – certainly a more impressive list than the charges of fraud and theft brought by public prosecutions boss Shaun Abrahams against the finance minister and two others in October, but probably even less likely to succeed.

Mokotedi has deposed an affidavit accusing McBride et al of conspiring against him, national Hawks head Mthandazo Berning Ntlemeza, Abrahams, the acting police commissioner and the director general of the State Security Agency. The Ipid is, indeed, investigating the acting police chief and Ntlemeza for perjury, defeating the ends of justice and corruption, but that’s not conspiring – that’s the Ipid doing its job.

According to Mokotedi, or at least another of those dodgy “intelligence reports” that keep turning up, McBride, Sibiya, O’Sullivan and the intelligence officer contemplated having him and Ntlemeza killed. Oh, and they were supposedly plotting to bring down the presidency of Jacob Zuma.

It doesn’t seem that Mokotedi can see that such claims hardly make his general case against McBride and company look very solid. It looks more like a case of flinging as much kak as he can find and hoping some gobbets stick. Or it’s a case of setting up a long, dragged-out trial that will probably go nowhere in particular but at least it will keep McBride and other troublesome figures out of action for a while. Is that what Mokotedi is hoping?

Either way, we’re bewildered. And we think Mokotedi may be, too.

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These days, we are on the trail of the merry band of corporates and politicians robbing South Africa of its own potential.

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