The Commission of Inquiry into State Capture is investigating claims by former Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) director Robert McBride that the capture of the law enforcement agencies, which began 10 years ago, continues.
Evidence leader Paul Pretorius on Monday told inquiry chairperson Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo that the claims which first surfaced on May 17, 2016 were under investigation.
At that time, McBride, Hawks former head Anwa Dramat and SA Revenue Service (Sars) former deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay spoke out against a political conspiracy threatening the independence of public institutions during the Jacob Zuma presidency.
These included the Hawks, Ipid, Sars, Crime Intelligence, the State Security Agency, Denel and the National Prosecuting Agency (NPA).
During his testimony, McBride said he stood by the joint statement of three years ago that there appeared to be “remarkable coincidence in the methods used to remove officials from these institutions, the players involved and their intersecting interests”.
The joint statement read: “Attacks on individuals in these institutions are aimed at undermining the fight against corruption. A key part of our mandates was to investigate cases of corruption.
“A common thread is that cases under investigation involved individuals or entities with questionable relationships to those in public office. Most of these cases involved state tenders that were awarded due to patronage with influential individuals in public office.”
McBride said after the information was leaked, the institution in question would launch an “investigation” into the accused officials “using news reports as a pretext”, before leaking the results of these same investigations to journalists.
In all institutions cited, according to the statement, “the effective top leadership was removed and replaced. The replacements then instituted far-reaching structural and operational changes in the institutions.
“Often, the replacements face legal challenges by public interest groups based on their appointments or their actions.
“Where matters went to court, courts consistently found in favour of the affected officials, with cost orders against their institutions, only for them to be suspended again and investigated on a new slate of allegations.”
This was the case with McBride, Pillay, Sars former head of strategic planning Peter Richer, Dramat, Hawks former Gauteng head Shadrack Sibiya, Hawks former KwaZulu-Natal head Johan Booysen and former NPA senior prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach, among others.
The statement described corruption as “the biggest threat to our constitutional democracy”.
According to Global Financial Integrity, about R147 billion was lost from the illicit movement of money out of South Africa.
McBride was emphatic during cross-examination that the capture of state institutions continued after Zuma’s leadership.
“What has happened, has continued and still continues,” he said.
Pretorius said it was “important to hear all the details of McBride’s testimony to make a determination on how law enforcement agencies acted or showed lack of action”.
Zondo said: “That may be relevant to determine corruption levels and how those busy with corruption may have known law enforcement agencies would not enforce the law.”