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Published On: Wed, Feb 17th, 2021

News24.com | TOP SECRET: Dodgy ANC Nasrec ‘cash-for-votes’ investigation stalled once more

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News24.com | TOP SECRET: Dodgy ANC Nasrec ‘cash-for-votes’ investigation stalled once more

National Police Commissioner, General Khehla Sitole. (GCIS)

National Police Commissioner, General Khehla Sitole. (GCIS)

  • One month after a judge ordered that documents linked to a string of police contracts, probed by IPID, be declassified, the information remains secret.
  • Police commissioner General Khehla Sitole was ordered to take “immediate steps” to facilitate this but has now blamed IPID for the delay.
  • The top cop fought the declassification in court for three years, costing the taxpayer R1.5 million.

A trove of classified documents – the paper trail behind a slew of dubious police contracts, including those centred on allegations of a state-funded “plot” to swing the outcome of the ANC’s Nasrec elective conference – remain a closely guarded secret.

This nearly a month after the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria ruled that police commissioner General Khehla Sitole must take “immediate steps” to strip away their secret status – and hand them over to police watchdog the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID).

In a tersely worded letter sent to Sitole on Friday, Police Minister Bheki Cele wanted to know how the damming ruling impacted the police, how Sitole and his deputies “were involved” in a string of dubious deals now under investigation, and what cost was borne by the taxpayer after their three-year legal quest to keep the details secret.

Now Sitole has responded and explained that the I-View documents and information had not yet been declassified and proceeded to blame IPID and the Inspector-General of Intelligence [IGI].

For nearly three years, IPID investigators have been refused access to records surrounding a string of shadowy deals between the Crime Intelligence Division and a company called I-View, on the strength that this information has been categorised as secret.

Sitole and his deputies – Lieutenant-Generals Francinah Vuma and Leonard Tsumane – were steadfast that national security would be compromised should the information be made public.

Tantalus’ fruit

But IPID claimed this was merely a veil with which to obfuscate multi-pronged corruption probes and hide malfeasance in the uppermost echelons of the police.

Last month, Judge Norman Davis found there was no cogent basis that information sought by IPID be held out of reach like Tantalus’ fruit.

“There is no lawful or justifiable reason why access to the relevant documents should not be given to IPID and, if declassification is necessary to effect such a process, it should be done,” Davis said.

After the withering judgment, which has also drawn the probity of police top brass into sharp focus, Cele demanded answers.

In response, Sitole said: “It was decided to implement the order with regard to declassification of the information and documents… correspondence in this regard has been sent to IPID and the Inspector-General of Intelligence that the correct list is being attended to,” he wrote.

“No reply has been received to date and a follow up will be made, as documents were previously taken by IPID and the IGI from Crime Intelligence,” he mused.

Salvage credibility

Sitole also indicated that he had launched an appeal of a declaratory order made by Davis, that he, Vuma and Tsumane had “breached their duties” by failing to cooperate with IPID’s investigation.

“One would have expected SAPS management, upon hearing of allegations of a three-fold overpricing of basic equipment such as flak jackets, to immediately raise hue and cry, and volunteer any assistance to the investigation of such flagrant corruption within its ranks. The failure… constitutes a breach,” Davis said in his January ruling.

READ HERE | Cele vs Sitole: Nasrec election ‘plot’ sees rift widen

Sitole, in his letter to Cele, said leave to appeal this aspect of the judgment had already been filed, in an apparent bid to salvage his credibility and that of his management team.

The top cop also revealed that their ultimately doomed court challenge against IPID – a bid to ensure secrets stayed that way – had cost the taxpayer more than R1.5 million.

Police spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo had not responded to a request for comment at the time of publication. This story will be updated when his response is received.

Do you have a tip-off for our investigations unit? Send an email to tips@24.com.

Published at Wed, 17 Feb 2021 11:54:46 +0000

News24.com | Three ArcelorMittal employees missing after a 90 metre stack collapses at Vanderbijlpark plant

B3OYiZ

The search is on for three employees after a portion of a 90 meter stack collapsed at a coke battery of ArcelorMittal in Vanderbijlpark.

According to a statement by the company, the incident took place in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

The portion of the stack that collapsed fell onto a control room where three employees were working. They are currently unaccounted for.

Search and rescue teams are on the site and, according to the company, all efforts are focused on finding the missing employees. The cause of the incident is as yet unknown, but a full investigation has been launched.

All relevant authorities have been notified and the company is providing its full support in this regard. The company has also reached out to the families of the missing employees to offer assistance.

“The safety of our employees and contractors remain of primary concern and our focus now is on the search for our employees and to give support to their families. A full investigation is to follow to understand what happened and to avoid this happening in future,” the company said.

* This article will be updated as more information becomes available.

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Published at Wed, 17 Feb 2021 12:12:04 +0000

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News24.com | TOP SECRET: Dodgy ANC Nasrec ‘cash-for-votes’ investigation stalled once more