Corruption, patronage, abuse of powers and state resources are among several glaring weaknesses pointing to the dysfunctionality of the South African criminal justice system, according to former Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) executive director Robert McBride.
In wrapping up his four-day testimony before Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo at the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture, McBride spared no institution or individual in bringing to bear his personal brushes with high-ranking state officials behind the state capture project.
Among some of the revelations he made were:
- The unearthing by Ipid of former acting police commissioner Khomotso Phahlane’s corrupt dealings with service providers led to him enlisting services of the notorious Mabula Team – a rogue police unit from the North West, brought to Gauteng and stationed in a Pretoria hotel for a year. The operation sought to come up with counter-investigations against McBride, his staff and whistle-blowers;
- Mabula Team’s disregard for interdicts and court rulings unleashed a reign of terror on suspects, Ipid staff or anyone who dared spill the beans on Phahlane’s illegal dealings;
- Leon Mbangwa – former police minister Nathi Nhleko’s Zimbabwean chief-of-staff – who despite having a criminal record and financial problems, had his security clearance processed through Ipid during McBride’s suspension by Nhleko; and
- National Prosecuting Authority’s laxity in dealing with cases.
McBride, who was suspended for 18 months from 2015 to 2016 by Nhleko, to be replaced by the pliant Israel Kgamanyane, said upon his return to office he received a complaint from private investigator Paul O’Sullivan about a case of corruption and money laundering that had been opened against Phahlane during Kgamanyane’s stint in power.
The case related to the construction of Phahlane’s house at Sable Hills Estate in Midrand, allegedly with funds provided by a service provider to the SA Police Service (SAPS), as well as a music system worth R80,000 that was alleged to have been paid for by the same service provider, and several vehicles bought for Phahlane.
“Ipid investigated all cases and there was clear evidence of a corrupt relationship between Phahlane and service providers to the SAPS,” said McBride.
On whether the dysfunctional SAPS could be saved, he said: “You will never get the SAPS right until you restore rule of law.”
The commission of inquiry will next hear the testimony of former KwaZulu-Natal Hawks head Johan Booysen.