The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) briefed the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA) on its investigations, especially that of former acting SAPS National Commissioner General Khomotso Phahlane. The Committee was surprised by the amount of detail presented by the Head of Investigations, including the almost unbelievable story of SAPS employee, Morris “KGB” Tshabalala.
The Chairperson said in the fight for good governance and the fight against corruption, the critical instrument in the hands of the state was the police. If the police were infested with criminal elements and criminal gain, the fight against wrongdoing might well not succeed. Cleaning up the police was essential so that the police could be the instrument to deal with the wrongdoing in the country.
In its work, IPID should not be hindered and he referred to the intimidation tactics against IPID in the previous year. SCOPA was pulling IPID out of the shadows to ensure that everyone, including the police, recognised that IPID was a legal structure that Parliament recognised and supported.
IPID Head of Investigations informed the Committee that there were two legs to the arrest of General Phahlane. One case was the corrupt relationship with Crimetech and Kriminalistik, involving R96 million and linked to Phahlane’s house, including making cash payments from the boot of his car. The second case dealt with his vehicles and service provider, Forensic Data Analysts, owned by Keith Keating. The estimated amount involved was R5 billion.
Two cases of ‘defeating the ends of justice’ by South African Police Service members were being investigated. Also under investigation was the alleged corrupt relationship between Morris KGB Tshabalala, General Nemutanzhela and a service provider involving an amount of R563 005. The Head of Investigations described Tshabalala’s chequered career as a policeman/convicted robber and his involvement in the alleged buying of votes with R50 million given to him as Head of Rapid Deployment Intelligence at the Mangaung ANC Conference in 2012.
A further case involved the allegation of a corrupt relationship between members of Crime Intelligence and the service provider Brainwave, trading as I-View Integrated Systems, involving R54 million. A second case involved the same members of Crime Intelligence and the same service provider for an amount of R45 million. Those cases also involved officials at the State Information and Technology Agency.
The main concern that IPID had was getting SAPS to declassify documents so that IPID could obtain the required information to conclude their investigations, especially in the Tshabalala and Richard Mdluli cases.
Members had many questions for the IPID team and the Hawks representative who was dealing with the Richard Mdluli case. They asked about the working relationship with forensic investigators; noted dissatisfaction with the forensic auditors that National Treasury had procured to assist with the cases; and expressed anger about the R11 million payment made to Forensic Data Analysts, despite the Committee’s request to the SAPS National Commissioner that no further payments be made in terms of the maintenance contract. How was it possible that the SAPS could not know who had hired and rehired Tshabalala? A Member provided information on other examples of irregular contracts, particularly the appointment of a company in Johannesburg as the sole supplier of tyres for police cars countrywide.
The Committee asked questions about the relationship between SAPS and IPID in the light of the fact that IPID had been forced to apply for a court order to obtain classified documents, particularly as the classification seemed to be malicious in nature. What was the relationship between SAPS management and the IPISD management, and, in particular, that between the National Commissioner and IPID Executive Director? Was the Minister lending support for the investigations?
Members requested the Chairperson provide an opportunity for a ‘right of reply’ by SAPS and the State Information Technology Agency (SITA). Members asked when the Asset Forfeiture Unit would become involved, especially as some of the crimes had occurred, or had commenced, a number of years previously. The Committee felt that it would be important to have a proper breakdown of cases in comparison to the cost. SCOPA could not assist if IPID did not give the full breakdown of costs.
Members expressed serious concern about the case of Morris ‘KGB’ Tshabalala and the Mangaung Conference in 2012 as that seemed to imply a conflation of state and party. Members believed that there had to have been some political persons involved and they wanted to know who those persons were, as a Department with R50 million to disburse on buying votes would definitely have had political direction.
The Committee vowed to track down the money that should have gone into IPID’s budget to provide for Marikana scene recreations. The Committee wanted to see people charged to the full extent of the law for their involvement in the tragedy of Marikana.
The Chairperson resolved that the next meeting would include IPID, SAPS, SITA and possibly the Minister. One Member added that he would be providing explosive information about State Capture at the State Information Technology Agency at that meeting.
The Chairperson welcomed the IPID Head of Investigations, Mr Matthews Sesoko, Chief Director: Investigation and Information Management and his team in the absence of the IPID Executive Director, Mr Robert McBride. He had hoped that the Inter-Ministerial Team would have addressed SCOPA first, but the Team had indicated that it would be unavailable to attend the meeting. The meeting with IPID was a consequence of the meeting The Chairperson welcomed the IPID Head of Investigations, Mr Matthews Sesoko, Chief Director: Investigation and Information Management and his team in the absence of the IPID Executive Director, Mr Robert McBride. He had hoped that the Inter-Ministerial Team would have addressed SCOPA first, but the Team had indicated that it would be unavailable to attend the meeting. The meeting with IPID was a consequence of the meeting held on 30 November 2017: SAPS irregular expenditure; Forensic Data Analysts contracts: hearing with SAPS, SITA, IPID. IPID would talk about its investigations into the South African Police Service (SAPS).
The Chairperson noted that it was a special privilege to be asked to speak to SCOPA and not just to answer questions, but the Committee wanted information on the current status of the investigations into SAPS. The Committee wanted to give IPID all the support that it required. In the fight for good governance and the fight against corruption, the critical instrument in the hands of the state was the police. If the police were infested with criminal elements and criminal gain, the fight against wrongdoing might well not succeed. The work of IPID in cleaning up the police was essential so that the police could become the instrument to deal with the wrongdoings in the country. In its work, IPID should not be hindered. SCOPA was pulling IPID out of the shadows to ensure that everyone, including the police, recognised that IPID was a legal structure that Parliament recognised and supported. The intimidation tactics in the previous year, where SAPS senior officers had organised for rogue elements to conduct black operations against IPID, had attested to attempts to derail its investigations. The intention of the Committee was to put IPID front and centre where it could have space to rid the police of undesirable elements.
Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) current investigations
Mr Matthews Sesoko, Chief Director: Investigation and Information Management, was supported by Mr Innocent Khuba, Project Manager: High Profile Cases,Mr Chris Magoteti, Parliamentary Liaison Officer and Colonel Kobus Roelofse, Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks), SAPS, who was assisting IPID.
Mr Sesoko listed the main cases that were under investigation. The priority crime was the allegation of a corrupt relationship between Lieutenant-General Phahlane and a service provider, Crimetech and Kriminalistik, owned by Henry Deale and Jolanta Komodolowicz, involving an estimated amount of R96 million. There were two aspects to the Phahlane investigation: the case related to Lt-General Phahlane’s house and the second case related to his vehicles. Regarding the house, builders were given payments amounting to R1 250 000 from the boot of his car by his driver.
A second case involved General Phahlane and a service provider, Forensic Data Analysts (FDA) owned by Keith Keating. The estimated amount was R5 billion. The case also involved bribery of several officials in SAPS and in the State Information and Technology Agency (SITA). Certain officials at SITA had made admissions to receiving cash from FDA.
There were two cases of ‘defeating the ends of justice,’ one was against the North West Task Team and the other was against Major General Agnes Makhele from North West who had instructed her Staff Officer to withhold information from IPID. She had been prosecuted.
IPID was also investigating the allegation of a corrupt relationship between Morris KGB Tshabalala, General Nemutanzhela and a service provider involving an amount of R563 005. IPID found that Tshabalala had a chequered career as a policeman/convicted robber. He also did not properly account for R50 million given to him as Head of Rapid Deployment Intelligence at the Mangaung ANC Conference.
A further case involved the allegation of a corrupt relationship between members of Crime Intelligence (CI) and the service provider Brainwave, trading as I-View Integrated Systems, and involving R54 million. There was a second case involving the same CI members and Brainwave for an amount of R45 million.
In conclusion, Mr Sesoko stated that the investigation against the high-ranking police officers had brought to the fore the necessity to amend the IPID Act, the Intelligence Services Oversight Act and the SAPS Act to deal with declassification of information and documents to enable IPID to conduct investigations. He believed that there was a need for legislative amendments for strict oversight of Crime Intelligence and the Secret Service Account funds in particular.
Mr T Brauteseth (DA) thanked IPID for bringing a mean, lean team. He had questions for clarity and oversight. He wanted to focus on the FDA issue as he himself had been working on that issue. Had IPID been working with forensic investigators and was that relationship fruitful? Was the work that Bowman Gilfillan (Bowmans) was doing at SITA fruitful for IPID’s investigation? He had received rumours that there were efforts to curtail the investigations. Despite a call from SCOPA members, led by Mr Vincent Smith, at the SCOPA meeting in December 2017, that no further payments be made in terms of the maintenance contract to SITA, he had become aware that a further payment of R11 million had been made to SITA for the maintenance contract for the Rofin products. At a SCOPA meeting, Mr Brauteseth, had exposed a SAPS trip to Manchester United with Keating and other officials, including Brigadier Masuku. Had IPID investigated the SAPS trip to the UK? Did IPID know anything about the purpose of the trip and had they followed up on it? He had not heard Brig Masuku’s name mentioned in the presentation. Had the persons on the trip benefitted in any way? The value of the forensic equipment was nearly R1 billion. It had been a series of IT upgrades over the years. What recommendations was IPID making for the recovery of funds? He referred particularly to the extension of the alleged irregular contracts by more than 800%, as indicated in the IPID presentation.
Ms N Mente (EFF) stated that from slide 16 to slide 23 of the presentation, there was evidence of non-cooperation from SAPS and a refusal to assist with the investigation and the creation of blockages. She asked if the Committee could call SAPS to appear before it. They could not be supporting criminals. One of the areas in question was when SAPS had said that they did not know who had hired and rehired Tshabalala. There had to be information as to where he was hired and at which police station the form had been completed? Parliament could obtain that information.
Could IPID ascertain the exact amounts involved in the cases as she knew that the amounts were bigger than the given amounts? Had any SITA officials been charged or arrested? Could those who had left the service still be charged? Was there a way for IPID to find them and to link them to the cases? What information was there on General Nemutanzhela and the serious things that he had done? She asked if IPID could elaborate on the social media tracking system as it was concerning. What was the need and what had informed the tender? She believed that it was a company that knew about IT and had taken a chance. Could the Committee please be told more? She believed that there had been no a tender, as it was only a way of eating money from the state. Ms Mente asked about the Section 205 cases that IPID had sent to court for declassification of documents and how long approval took. She asked if any prosecutions had been approved.
Another contract that she did not see on the list was that of the sole supplier of tyres for SAPS. Originally SAPS had not had a tyre contract, but members had procured tyres from different companies close to the police stations, as and when needed. However, a directive had been given that all cars had to be supplied with tyres from a sole distributor based in Johannesburg. It did not make sense as the cars were not in Johannesburg and it took weeks for the tyres to arrive at the police stations, especially in rural areas. It did not make sense. She added that SAPS had procured two more systems. She asked for an update on the e-docket system that had been sent to police stations but had never been used. A finger-based clocking-in and out system had been procured and placed in police stations but had never been used. She asked for an update on that matter.
Mr Sesoko explained that IPID was working with the forensic firms. When IPID had heard that there was corruption at SITA, it had made contact with SITA and found that SITA was investigating and had contracted the firm Bowman Gilfillan (Bowmans) to investigate. National Treasury had appointed a firm of auditors, SizweNtsalubaGobodo, to assist IPID with its investigations. IPID had approached National Treasury to appoint Bowmans to assist in the SITA aspect of the IPID investigation. SizweNtsalubaGobodo was assisting investigators working on the FDA matter which had had contracts directly with SAPS, whereas Bowmans was assisting with contracts that had been placed via SITA.
IPID was not aware of further payments to FDA. It had written to SITA and had asked it not to pay. SITA had engaged its lawyers to cancel the contracts that were clearly unlawful. Apparently, some SAPS generals had put pressure on SITA to pay FDA. The generals had said that they would not pay SITA if SITA did not pay FDA. SAPS and Home Affairs were the biggest clients of SITA and the entity could collapse if SAPS did not pay. IPID would undertake an investigation and hold people accountable for making those threats.
IPID had not yet called in Brigadier Masuku as it was a big investigation and they had not yet been able to deal with him but would be doing so. IPID had begun with General Phahlane and then would get to the others who would be charged separately. Mr Sesoko was aware that the R5 billion included computer upgrades etc. IPID would be following up on all the contracts. It was an extensive investigation and hence the need for forensic assistance. IPID had not made recommendations on recovery. It had alerted the Auditor General and National Treasury, especially as National Treasury was paying the fees of the forensic experts. However, it was a criminal investigation and so the process would involve the Asset Forfeiture Unit for recovery of assets.
The Captain Tshabalala matter was a very strange one as he had been convicted of aggravated robbery and had spent time in jail. He was, in fact, a wanted criminal at the time that he was first appointed by SAPS. One would expect that police officers would be vetted, and, he would have been found to be a wanted criminal. Following his recent arrest, IPID had opposed his bail application. At the hearing Captain Tshabalala had said that he had been appealing his case at the time of his appointment to SAPS, but Mr Sesoko pointed out that that was incorrect. His appeal had been dismissed and he was supposed to hand himself over to the prison authorities. Captain Tshabalala had said that he had not known that. Even when released on parole after serving his time, Captain Tshabalala was re-employed by SAPS in 2015. IPID was looking for the personnel file to establish who was responsible for re-hiring him into SAPS but the information was not forthcoming.
The forensic investigators would eventually be able to cost the amount involved in the corruption matters. IPID would charge SITA officials who had collaborated with SAPS in the corrupt contracts, where applicable. General Nemutanzhela had been suspended but a disciplinary action had not been taken against him within the prescribed 60 days, so IPID would be investigating him in the Captain Tshabalala matter as well as in a number of other matters.
The social media tracking system for #FeesMustFall was a highly irregular procurement. IPID was waiting for documents in respect of the procurement. The Section 205s had to be signed off by the prosecutors and the magistrates so those were still in process. He had not been aware of the supply of tyres but would look at it. The eDocket system was an Integrated Criminal Justice System issue as all departments in the Justice cluster had agreed to that system. It had been dealt with by SITA and at that stage, IPID was not aware of any corruption in the deal. It had also not looked into the fingerprint clocking-in system, but would make inquiries and, if necessary, follow it up.
Mr M Hlengwa (IFP) asked about classification. He assumed that the political principal of IPID was the Minister of Police. That being the case, he asked if the matter had been brought to the political head. He wanted to understand the relationship between SAPS and IPID as IPID had gone to court for declassification of information. The failure to declassify information seemed to be malicious in nature. What was the relationship between SAPS management and IPID management drawing in the National Commissioner and the IPID Accounting Officer? He could not imagine why it would be necessary to go to court. Who was the final authority in respect of the de-classification? Secondly, IPID had touched on Richard Mdluli. How long had that matter been going on and what were the timeframes? If it was a long-winded open-ended situation, he was quite sure that the court action and other matters would not unblock the bottlenecks ahead.
The Rapid Deployment Intelligence operation headed by KGB Tshabalala at the ANC Mangaung Conference and the R50 million spent, in principle, was it legal? What were the terms of reference of such a massive operation that could cost so much? His worry was that it was a massive conflation of state and party and if they did not deal with it, they stood to set an unnecessary precedent of political interference in the work of the state. What was the Rapid Deployment Intelligence (RDI) operation supposed to do? Did such work fall into the domain of SAPS, or should it be the work of the State Security Agency? He expressed his wholehearted reservation about a massive conflation of state and party, and with a rogue element, that should have been behind bars. Knowing who Tshabalala was and that he had been unleashed in such a situation where things could have gone horribly wrong, made him uneasy. Was KGB Tshabalala a political animal? He wanted to understand the circumstances and nature of the so-called RDI.
Mr Hlengwa referred to the transaction on Slide 10 of the presentation that had been raised at the last SCOPA meeting of 2017. When he had asked the relevant man how it had happened under his watch that such an amount of money had been released, he had nearly cried. It had been uncomfortable to watch. He noted that at the time, the National Commissioner had said to tread carefully. That being the case, he was interested to know if they would ever get to the bottom of the matter. He had heard about Phahlane but who were the functionaries who were facilitating the process? Had IPID found similar transactions where orders had been processed under the guise of an emergency and payments made within ten minutes. People would not be able to do that, would not know how to do that, if they had not done it before. If an official was paying R53 million without a problem, had that official done it before? He asked if IPID had investigated to see if similar transactions may have taken place in SAPS.
Mr V Smith (ANC) thanked the presenters. The presentation should be a means to effective oversight and not an end in itself. He thought that the Committee might need to find an opening for a “right of reply” for want of a better word, because the information was coming from IPID. He proposed writing a letter to SAPS and SITA to get clarity on whether further payments were being made despite the Committee decision that it should not be done. IPID had made it clear that the contracts were irregular and illegal. He suggested that the letters be written before the close of business so that the Committee could get their side of the story. The Committee also needed to write a letter to the NPA on the processes and timing of the kicking in of the Asset Forfeiture Unit. If one looked at the Free State matter, there had been no finding from a judge and yet the Asset Forfeiture Unit had kicked in to start a recovery. If IPID was clear that the contracts were irregular and illegal, why could recovery not begin? The problem was that some of the cases dated back a number of years and IPID could not wait another four or five years because then there would be nothing left to recoup.
The Committee needed to have IPID back for another meeting, together with the NPA and SAPS, to finalise the matter. The Committee had had an initial meeting with these entities and IPID but had these enities had not come back to report on progress. The Committee had to ask SAPS if it had defied Parliament. The Committee should have a meeting with all three role players as soon as possible.
Mr Sesoko replied that the Minister had been informed about de-classification. The first investigation of I-View had started during the tenure of Lt General Mothiba who had also corresponded with the Minister about the matter of declassification. IPID had consistently engaged with SAPS management from the time General Mothiba was acting National Commissioner [from June 2017] to the present, with General Khela Sithole as National Commissioner [since November 2017]. He had engaged with General Tsumane and General Khan and, knowing that he was to appear before Parliament, the previous day he had spoken to General Tsumane and General Khan who had promised to provide the documents, but they needed more time. He had already been waiting months. He could not believe that it could take SAPS so long to provide classified documents. The National Commissioner could declassify documents, or he could delegate that responsibility to the Divisional Commissioner of Crime Intelligence. As IPID was not aware of any delegation, its correspondence had been addressed to the National Commissioner. For months they had had promises, but nothing had happened.
On the Rapid Deployment Intelligence, Mr Sesoko replied that most of the information that IPID received, was received anonymously as people were afraid, especially in Crime Intelligence. IPID had to follow up the information that it had by going through the currently classified documents for it to do a proper investigation. That was the only way to get to the bottom of who was involved and to get statements from the people who were involved. In the absence of de-classification, it became very difficult to continue with the work. IPID was working with the Inspector General of Intelligence as there was a memorandum of understanding between IPID and the Inspector General. It was that discussion that had led to the recommendation for legislative changes in relation to the Inspector General. Even he could not declassify documents. It was only SAPS. He could have access to the documents but not declassify them. In the absence of that, everyone’s hands were tied. The best model to assist not only IPID, but also Parliamentary Committees, would be to amend the legislation so that IPID could hold Crime Intelligence accountable for what they did. Even the Auditor General could not go into classified documents, so their audit was limited.
FDA could only have obtained the contracts if lower level officials had played a facilitating role. Those people would also be considered suspects in the matters, both in SAPS and SITA. Depending on the role that they had played, some of them might become Section 204 witnesses. If there had been similar transactions which had been processed, approved and paid on one day, he could not say as the investigators had only picked up the one to date. However, the work of the forensic auditors was continuing, and he could not say that similar transactions would not be found. He pointed out that IPID and the forensic auditors were dealing with a huge volume of documents relating to the contracts.
Colonel Kobus Roelofse of Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI) (Hawks) on the Anti-Corruption Task Team, informed the Committee that his unit had been trying since 2012 to get the documents related to Richard Mdluli declassified. Only the author or the SAPS Head could declassify. They were unable to ask the author of the document as he was implicated and so they had approached the National Commissioner. They had written to the last four National Commissioners asking for de-classification. He had been getting the run-around since 2012, either being asked why he had the documents or how he had come into possession of the documents. He noted that the documents had been lawfully seized with the permission of the National Commissioner and with a search warrant. Crime Intelligence had played a big role in muddying the waters by asking irrelevant questions and kicking for touch. That was where the investigators stood regarding Richard Mdluli and the declassification of the documentation.
Ms N Kunou (ANC) suggested that presenters should not mention political parties by name in their presentations. The Committee had had a meeting with the Anti-Corruption Task Team (ACTT) which dealt with matters of corruption involving R5 million and more. She thought that IPID would be working with ACTT. Some of the problems or challenges could have been solved if IPID had been working with ACTT. Referring to the IPID Act, she pointed out that Section 26 in the regulations stated that IPID had to work with the Minister and she was sure that IPID had not been working with him. She had heard the team say that the Minister was aware of the problem but wondered how often IPID had meetings with the Minister. Section 36 spoke to integrity measures and the Minister could at any time check the integrity of people working in the Service. She was not sure how often he had done that.
Ms Kunou said that the Minister of Police had to be at the meeting with IPID, SAPS, SITA and the NPA, as proposed by Mr Smith. The Minister would make sure that the documents were declassified. If IPID and DPCI had the documents with them, the Committee would ensure that they were declassified. She had also been checking the Intelligence Act to see if something was blocking the de-classification, but she did not get the sense that there was anything.
She knew that IPID was dealing with high-ranking cases but if it looked into its legislation, it would see that it had to deal not only with SAPS but also with municipal police. Were they doing that? IPID had no visibility. Why? Were they not properly structured? What was the problem?
Ms Kunou said IPID had asked National Treasury to appoint Bowmans. Why Bowmans? She had a problem with companies that were not growing. Where were the black companies? She heard that IPID was working with Gobodo and others, but why Bowmans? Was it because they had a speciality that other people did not have? If South Africa’s own intelligence that was supposed to be protecting the country, was colluding with criminals, where was the country going? Could IPID give the names of people involved at SAPS and SITA, even if it was not made public. The President had been quite clear that government was going to deal with corruption, even if it meant taking their houses or pensions. She also asked the presenter not to use acronyms.
Ms T Chiloane (ANC) agreed that SAPS, NPA and everybody involved had to be called to a meeting. She referred to the declassified information. Why did IPID not compel SAPS to declassify by asserting its constitutional right? She guessed that if somebody was “involved” then that person would withhold information. The amounts were so big that she suggested that the service providers be called to SCOPA as they were colluding with SAPS members. She also requested that the Minister of Police and the Minister of Justice, Minister Masutha, appear before the Committee. She requested an extended meeting so that the Committee could expand on the big monies as some of the cases were already in court.
Mr Sesoko replied that it was not working with the Anti-Corruption Task Team (ACTT) but it was something that IPID would take up with the IPID Executive Director. Mr Sesoko explained that the Integrity Matters related to IPID’s own staff. It was an in house procedure. The investigators went through a vetting process to ensure investigators were doing their work as they should. The vetting could be withdrawn if necessary, and the person would go through the Integrity process, which had to be handled by the Executive Director. The reference to the Minister in the legislation was simply that he had to sign the regulations.
He reminded the Member that, as a result of the financial constraints, IPID had prioritised cases to those concerning death on duty, rape by a police officer or in custody and corruption. It was not that IPID did not address other cases, but they were not on the priority list. Metro Police Officer cases could be attended to, especially in respect of corruption, but there were not too many Metro Police cases. When funds allowed, IPID would arrange targeted interventions. In KZN, IPID had taken on the case of corruption and collusion with driving schools that went to court last year. There could be a lack of reporting on Metro Police cases, or some cases could go directly to SAPS.
Bowmans had the necessary background. SITA had already engaged Bowmans to do a forensic investigation into procurement at SITA. As Bowmans was already involved, it made more sense to keep the firm that had begun the work. It would not be appropriate to pay a new firm to start again. National Treasury was carrying the cost and both Bowmans and SizweNtsalubaGobodo were on the National Treasury service provider panel.
IPID required documents to prove involvement with particular crimes. As IPID and SAPS were working together in government and in the same portfolio, IPID did not want to be seen to be fighting with SAPS, but in the light of non-cooperation, IPID had invoked section 205.
Mr E Kekana (ANC) asked if those were the only high-profile cases. He had read in the newspapers about a number of high profile cases. What was the situation with Keith Keating? Had IPID opened a case against him and Durand Snyman? As they were not in SAPS, how could IPID bring them to justice? Was there a mechanism for dealing with them?
Mr M Booi (ANC) stated that the meeting was intended to build the capacity of IPID. It was important to have a proper breakdown of cases so that the Committee could put that in comparison to the cost of corruption. SCOPA could not assist if IPID did not give the full analysis of costs. SCOPA would be talking to the Minister directly to ask if he had a working relationship with IPID. It was not SCOPA’s day-to-day business, but the Members had decided to help. Was IPID able to break down the R5 billion? Otherwise the Committee could not take that to the Minister. The Committee could not deal with guesswork. The details had to be provided
Mr Booi asked Mr Sesoko to be specific about who Mr Keating was promising jobs? The detail was necessary so that SCOPA could tell the person to stay with SAPS or go. The SAPS National Commissioner had not kept his word. It was quite surprising. He had promised in Parliament that he would work with IPID. Had the Commissioner not kept his word? Had he misled Parliament?
Mr C Ross (DA) noted that the Committee had not been provided with timeframes to see that IPID had come out of the blocks soon enough. He noted the political involvement in the ANC Mangaung Conference in 2012. Now there had been a change in political climate but also a change in law enforcement. On 8 February 2018, Phahlane was arrested after the NPA had decided to prosecute. However, that was where the issue of timeframes came into play. The money had been paid over in 2011 so there was a lapse of six years. He asked IPID about their timeframes. He understood the resistance in the SAPS but perhaps if one were being investigated, it was natural to resist. Col Roelofse was still battling to get information from the Generals. There were still problems with de-classification. He suggested that the Minister of Police should be called to SCOPA.
In his opinion, there had to be some political person involved in the Rapid Deployment Intelligence operation at the 2012 Mangaung Conference in 2012 which was headed by Morris ‘KGB’ Tshabalala. One did not come from a Department with R50 million to disburse in buying votes and yet there was no one to assist in respect of political responsibility. The Committee should ask the Minister for clarity on this, but he did think that the Committee should get to the names of everyone involved and with whom they were dealing at the Mangaung conference. An operation did not happen with a single individual. Who was the Rapid Deployment Intelligence team dealing with at the Conference?
Mr Sesoko replied that the cases noted in the presentation were not all the high-profile cases that IPID was dealing with as there were too many to discuss in a single meeting. He would, however, present the Committee with a breakdown. IPID was investigating over 7000 cases. He could also provide the cost of the investigations. IPID was still busy with the Marikana matter but, despite being promised funding, no funding had been provided and IPID had used its normal baseline budget to do the necessary investigation.
The current Minister had been supportive and there had been a number of engagements between him and the Executive Director and, as a result, the coming year would see a shift of some funds from SAPS to IPID.
IPID had arrived at an estimated R5 billion when they had added all the contracts through SAPS and SITA. It was an ongoing process. The forensic auditors were still busy working out the cost as they sifted through the documents. The people who had been promised jobs were, in some cases, people who had provided information and who IPID would be using as witnesses. IPID was not at liberty to disclose their names. A number of people in SITA would be acting as witnesses. Some people had already been threatened, so their names would also not be disclosed at this stage.
After the last SCOPA meeting, IPID had met with the SAPS Head who had directed that General Tsumane and General Vuma would provide the information but General Tsumane kept asking for more time.
General Sithole had been told on 14 December to stop the transaction to pay for the FDA contract, which he had done. On the timeframes for the Phahlane investigations, Mr Sesoko explained that IPID had only got involved in March 2016 when the matter was reported by Mr Paul O’Sullivan. At the time, Mr Sesoko and the Executive Director were on suspension. When they returned to duty, Mr O’Sullivan informed them that he had not had any feedback, and, on investigation, they had found that management had not undertaken an investigation. However, in November 2016, IPID began to investigate. But it was very complex. On the timing of the Phahlane prosecution, only NPA could speak on the timing of the prosecution. The 2012 RDI operation involved Morris KGB Tshabalala but IPID could only know who else was involved when they received the relevant documents. Those documents were some of the classified documents so IPID could not give an answer about the date of prosecution. Mr Durand Snyman had been charged with Phahlane and had been to court. He was out on bail. Mr Keating had been involved in a cross-border operation, involving Namibia and Australia, but he would be charged in due course.
Ms Khunou wanted the profile of Bowmans as she was very sceptical of the company. However, she said that National Treasury would have to explain.
Mr Hlengwa asked for the correspondence since 2012 that had been to-ing and froing between IPID and the Minister, especially as there had been three Ministers in that time. He wanted to impress on the Chairperson that the Minister had to be available for the meeting. The role players were not going to be helpful if they were involved. IPID was in a very difficult position and could not be dependent on the people that they were investigating. He knew that IPID had its own challenges but its independence in terms of the people it was investigating was being compromised.
Ms Mente asked for proof of correspondence about General Nemutanzhela because not charging personnel within 60 days was a typical escape route for SAPS. Had IPID checked who or which station had appointed Mr Tshabalala? That Provincial SAPS Head had to appear before the Committee. Were there outstanding arrests or cases and dockets to which the NPA had not responded? The Committee required a list of those cases or dockets for which IPID was awaiting a NPA response.
She asked if IPID had the declarations of the financial interests of senior SAPS officials as Mr Sesoko had indicated that General Phahlane had not submitted a declaration as per DPSA requirement. Did IPID have any relationship with DPSA? DPSA kept the declarations for Level 13 officials and above. IPID could then link the declarations with those who were being investigated. The eDocket system went back to the trial in 2009 when the trial did not get off the ground, but the systems had been procured. Then in 2017 the National Spokesperson for the Police had mentioned eDocket as if it was a new thing that was going to be implemented. IPID had to investigate as far back as 2009. The clock-in system also went back to 2012.
Mr Brauteseth reminded SCOPA that the Committee would be seeing SITA and SAPS the following week. The Committee had been doing a lot of work on the case, especially the FDA contracts and IT contracts and the Committee would be prepared for them. The R1 billion spent on IT contracts would be dwarfed by the amount spent on IT systems. The Committee had asked SAPS to provide it with a wealth of information and SAPS had sent a lot of information, which the Committee would be going through. He took it that IPID would be there the following week as a lot of the answers that the Committee expected to get would be illuminating for IPID cases. It would also be taking the entire matter in another direction that he referred to as the IT Capture of the state. It was a capture that a lot of people were missing. In terms of IT architecture and IT infrastructure, people had missed the fact that it was very easy to sell those items and to upgrade them at ridiculous costs. Those costs had not been queried because SITA had failed the state in advising on that.
Mr Brauteseth said Mr Tshabalala was clearly a rogue individual from the word go, and still was. There should have been a vetting process and he should never have entered the SAPS system. Who did the vetting? Was it SAPS or the State Security Agency (SSA)? SSA had to be called back to SCOPA as a follow-up as that was another problem. Surely a person in that particular role should be carefully vetted and not simply go through a recruitment process? Could Mr Sesoko please comment on the vetting process? Mr Brauteseth promised him that the following meeting would be pretty heavy.
Mr Sesoko agreed to supply copies of all the correspondence requested. A number of cases were with the NPA. IPID continually engaged with the NPA. IPID had had an issue about how some of the NPA decisions had been taken and had, in some situations, referred cases back to the NPA. He promised to look into the matters of the fingerprint clock-in and the eDocket systems. IPID had engaged with DPSA and the Public Service Commission and they had been able to get the declarations of General Phahlane.
He replied that IPID was not aware if Morris Tshabalala had been vetted because the investigators had been unable to get hold of his personnel file. They doubted if there had been any vetting. SAPS could not explain how it was possible that someone with such a serious record of crime had been appointed to the police, promoted to Captain in a very short period of time and then, after jail time, he was back in SAPS. SAPS management could not explain what had happened. Recently General Sithole was on a television show and he had said that that KGB Tshabalala had been dismissed in 2013. That was incorrect as he had been re-appointed in 2016, i.e. when General Sithole was being interviewed. Tshabalala was only dismissed after he had been arrested and Mr Sesoko had been informed that SAPS was sending a dismissal letter at that time. He had a copy of the dismissal letter but without the personnel file, IPID could not explain further. However he could assure the Committee that people would be held accountable and charged, if appropriate. IPID would charge people because if Mr Tshabalala had been appointed, IPID would call the relevant people to account when the investigators got the personnel file.
The Chairperson noted that declassification was key. If FDA had got tenders corruptly, there had to have been a bid committee and if those people were not witnesses, they had to be charged. As General Phahlane had been charged, he did not see why other people had not been. It would be hollow if they were not charged. Members of the bid committee were either witnesses or they had to be charged as collaborators. All the other people in the chain could not be allowed to go free. It was not a clash of elephants only. Mr Sesoko had spoken of pressure on SITA to make payments to FDA. Where was the CEO and who had the powers? Were there some older policemen who were controlling the situation? Unless that was cracked, Phahlane was not the puppet master but just a puppet himself of the real masterminds. Was it the CFO? They had to find the masterminds working with Keating. On the de-classification, the Committee had to look into it as it was key, especially in respect of Crime Intelligence. But also, the legislative shortcomings had to be addressed.
If the police were to be used to clean society, and to fight corruption, the police investigations had to be prioritised so that government could use a clean police service to clean up the country. If SAPS was not cleaned up, the bigger picture would not be met. Who was supposed to provide the budget for the Marikana investigation? It was tragic, and government and Parliament had to be seen to be trying to do justice and right the wrongs. Where was IPID supposed to get the budget? Was there correspondence to show that IPID had tried to get the money? Marikana had to be cleared. The cost of investigations was another important matter.
The Chairperson had seen that Phahlane had accused IPID of being the puppet of Paul O’Sullivan who had said that he would see Phahlane in jail. O’Sullivan was now threatening the Hawks. Was O’Sullivan pulling the strings?
Mr Sesoko replied that IPID was resolute that all role players who were found to be involved in corruption would be charged. As Head of Investigations, he might use some of the role players as Section 204 witnesses but there would still be consequences, even for the witnesses, as there was the matter of disciplinary procedures.
Information had been received about pressure brought to bear on SITA to pay FDA. A SAPS General had approached SITA and told SITA to pay FDA or SAPS would not pay SITA. Mr Sesoko suspected that it was one of the beneficiaries of FDA. IPID knew that General Phahlane had been very instrumental as he had promoted people who were involved. If there could have been puppet masters above him, IPID did not know as it had not found any, but the investigation was ongoing.
IPID would share the correspondence on the funding for the Marikana investigation. The Farlam Commission on Marikana had recommended that IPID do certain things with the NPA. IPID had written to National Treasury and the Minister but there had been no additional budget. Scene 2 had to be reconstructed by an entity other than SAPS and IPID had not had the budget for that. However, IPID had investigated and a number of people were to be charged shortly by the NPA. IPID would be advised if there was still a need for a reconstruction of Scene 2.
The Chairperson interjected, asking if the reconstruction of Scene 2 was a directive or if it was discretionary. He thought that the Committee should talk to NPA as he thought that the reconstruction might ensure a heavier sentence for those found guilty than without such a reconstruction. The Committee would take it up with the NPA.
Mr Sesoko replied that if the NPA could prosecute without the reconstruction, they could go ahead. The prosecutors were going through the available evidence and would make a decision on whether the scene should be reconstructed.
Mr Sesoko categorically denied that IPID was a puppet of Paul O’Sullivan. In a Portfolio Committee on Police meeting General Phahlane had called IPID ‘OPID’ because he believed that IPID investigators were puppets of O’Sullivan. IPID had taken exception as it could not be undermined by the General in that way. The matter was currently subject to litigation as Phahlane had challenged one of IPID’s searches. Popcru had first raised the allegations against Phahlane. The allegations had led to an investigation and a report which Phahlane said had exonerated him. That investigation had been related to labour relations issues and not the criminal action that IPID was looking at. Popcru had approached Paul O’Sullivan with their information because they had got no satisfaction from SAPS.
Paul O’Sullivan had conducted his own investigation and had come to the conclusion that there was something wrong. He had reported it to IPID when the IPID Executive Director was on suspension. When the Executive Director had returned, O’Sullivan had met with him and he had appointed a team that had gone with the complainant to see Phahlane’s house. Mr Sesoko said that Phahlane was going to court and he could ventilate in court about IPID’s capture, if he wished to do so. Did IPID share information with Paul O’Sullivan? Of course IPID had shared information with Mr O’Sullivan - he had brought the information in the first place.
Mr Brauteseth reminded the Committee that there were no documents and processes for the IT contracts as the contracts had been a result of discussions in the boardroom. He pointed out that when he was an investigator, he would sit with SAPS officers who did not even have a computer and would help them with spreadsheets containing information. That kind of situation was a healthy partnership between private and state.
The Chairperson indicated that the Committee would meet with IPID again.