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Top cop lied to commission, says witness

The Independent Police Investigative Directorate has been asked to investigate perjury charges against a KwaZulu-Natal police general for allegedly lying under oath to the Moerane commission of inquiry into political killings in the province.

Vanessa Burger, who testified at the commission, has also written to national police commissioner Khehla Sitole asking him to investigate Major General Dumezweni Chiliza, the deputy provincial commissioner responsible for investigations and a former Umlazi cluster commander. This is for allegedly lying in his testimony to the commission in February and March.

In her complaint, which has also been sent to Parliament’s portfolio committee on policing, Burger said Chiliza had lied when he told the commission he had not been aware of threats to the life of state witness Sipho Ndovela.

Ndovela, a witness in an attempted murder case against deceased Glebelands hitman Bongani Hlophe, was shot dead in the Umlazi magistrate’s court parking lot on May 18 2015 while under police protection.

A police detective, Bhekukwazi Mdweshu, is among the eight men standing trial in the high court in Pietermaritzburg for the murder of Ndovela and of several other people at the Glebelands Hostel in Umlazi.

Burger said the commission had documentary proof in the form of emails that Chiliza was aware of the threats to Ndovela, whose killing was allegedly set up with the assistance of police members under Chiliza’s command.

She alleged that Chiliza had “lied” to the commission and had sought to “cover up” the unlawful actions of a subordinate officer, which in all likelihood included conspiracy to commit murder. Burger asked that the alleged perjury be investigated urgently, as well as claims that Chiliza had been complicit in covering up a series of crimes at the hostel and frustrating investigations while he was the cluster commander.

“It would be an injustice to the public and all those who testified before the commission if no action is taken against those responsible, particularly if some of those individuals appear to be police officers,” she wrote.

Burger has also requested that the former Durban Central cluster commander, Major General Bala Naidoo, who is now retired, be investigated for failing to act on evidence presented to him of Mdweshu’s involvement in killings at the hostel and the use of police weapons in them.

Burger told the Mail & Guardian she had laid the complaint after the commission released its report to ensure that senior police members were held responsible for their role in the more than 120 killings that have taken place at the hostel.

“’There is evidence that the authorities nationally need to have it drawn to their attention so that they will act on it.

“The involvement of senior SAPS [South African Police Service] officials is of great concern and needs to be dealt with,” she said.

On Thursday six men appeared in the Pietermaritzburg regional court for a bail application after being arrested for the murder of former ANC councillor Musawenkosi “Maqatha” Mchunu.

In Umzimkhulu, a man appeared in the magistrate’s court for a second time in connection with the murder of former ANC Youth League secretary general Sindiso Magaqa. At the time of writing neither hearing had been concluded.

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Paddy Harper
Paddy Harper
Storyteller.

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