Analysis: Shadrack Sibiya has a right to justice against the State Capture enablers still jammed in the system
A year after the inauguration of President Jacob Zuma, former Gauteng Hawks Head Shadrack Sibiya began investigating charges of murder against former Crime Intelligence boss, Richard Mdluli, the man who, behind the scenes, had cleared the way for Zuma's ascent to high office.
When Shadrack Sibiya launched Operation uLibambe lingashoni (Don't Let the Sun Set) into Mdluli in 2010, he, along with other senior cops, including Hawks head, Anwar Dramat, became targets of the State Capture political project and those who had been recruited and embedded in the system to enable it. Mdlulibegan his career in 1979 in apartheid South Africa as a member of the feared Special branch, a unit tasked with arresting, interrogating and torturing anti-apartheid activists. He was was accused of the 1999 kidnapping and murder of Oupa Ramogibe, the husband of Mdluli's former lover Tshidi Buthelezi when he popped up in Sibiya's cross-hairs. Until then Sibiya had been regarded as one of the most effective crime fighters in the region particularly in cracking cash-in-transit heists. He was commended several times for his work in this murky and violent realm. But Shadrack Sibiya is not a man to be toyed with. While he is no longer the head of the Gauteng DPCI having been suspended in 2015 by the illegally appointed Hawks head and Zuma blunt instrument, Berning Ntlemeza, he wears his reputation as a crime fighter like a well-worn invisible cloak. Appointed in 2016 to head the City Of Joburg's internal anti-corruption unit, he is still known and greeted by all as “the General”. Sibiya's career began in Rustenberg in 1988 when he enrolled as a student constable. He later became a Detective Captain in the National Central Bureau of Interpol in Pretoria. From there made his way through the ranks to Chief Special Investigator in the Free State branch of the Scorpions and Head of the Hawks' Commercial Crime Unit. It was in this position that he “affected 25 high-profile arrests of local politicians and business people”. At the time, current ANC SG Ace Magashule was the premier of the province. We will just leave that one there. The project to sideline dedicated investigators in the DPCI and elsewhere could not have succeeded without collusion by top officials in the Hawks, the NPA, CI, the SAPS and even Cabinet who all flouted and bent the law to persecute fellow officers and who were flying too close to the political flame. While the NPA has provisionally withdrawn charges against Dramat and Sibiya in the Zimbawe rendition matter, the threat remains. And while the former Gauteng Hawks head indeed made representations to the NPA, he said he would welcome the prosecution. This would finally offer an opportunity for all the available evidence to be presented to the court and to be tested. Hawks official Lesley “Cowboy” Maluleke will still face charges in the matter including allegedly contravening the Organised Crime the Immigration Acts as well as kidnapping. State prosecutor George Baloyi told the court the charges against Dramat and Sibiya may be reinstated after Maluleke's trial. While the “Zimbabwe rendition” matter is, in the greater scheme of the relentless crime epidemic in South Africa, a relatively small matter, two Ministers at the time, Minister Nathi Mthethwa and Minister of Justice, Jeff Radebe, both involved themselves personally in the matter. A paper trail of emails and statements, as well as a pile of other documents submitted to the court not only in Sibiya's “disciplinary hearing” but also but also in criminal charges relating to the bogus rendition case, show how former Hawks head Berning Ntlemeza overstepped his mandate to pressure the NPA (as he did in the Gordhan, Ivan Pillay and Oupa Magashula matter) to move on Sibiya, Dramat and others. Emails and documents seen by Daily Maverick also indicate that Advocates Anthony Mosing and Billy Moeletsi, of the Projects Division in the office of the NDPP), also attempted to pressure Sibiya into signing a version of a SAPS Crime Intelligence Gathering division(CIG) statement implicating Dramat and himself. The CIG had initiated the investigation. The “rendition case”, it is also clear from documents and photographs submitted in court proceedings, was a Crime Intelligence operation in the first place. This is borne out in a 28 March 2011 letter from Major-General RA Toka, Provincial Head of Crime Intelligence Gauteng to The Provincial Commissioner of SAPS titled “Commendation for Good Work Performed by Members of Crime Intelligence”. Attached to the letter was a minute, dated 14 March 2011 from the Bulawayo CID Provincial Headquarters in Zimbabwe. “The members involved are stationed at Pretoria Central Crime Intelligence Station,” Toka told the Provincial Commissioner adding that “it would be appreciated if the members can be called to your office to congratulate them for the good work done”. Also involved in the Zimbabwe rendition matter is State Advocate, George Baloyi, who had told IPID Director Humbulani Khuba, that while the case was problematic Khuba needed to “bite the bullet”. Khuba made this revelation in a sworn statement. The Police Minister oversaw the initiation of a parallel investigation by Ntlemeza and the DPCI including gathering contradictory false statements from junior CI Operatives. In March 2015 Ntlemeza, still acting head of the DPCI but who was later to be irregularly permanently appointed by then police, Minister Nathi “Firepool” Nhleko, wrote to the North Gauteng director of public prosecutions, Advocate Sibongile Mzinyathi and then NPA head, Mxolisi Nxasana. (Later shoved off the bus by President Zuma.) Ntlemeza suggested to Mzinyathi that he (Ntlemeza), as head of the DPCI, “has a responsibility on all matters of National Priority like Seious (sic) Organised Crime and Serious Corruption of which the issue of illegal renditions falls within that ambid (sic)”. Ntlemeza added” “It is worth to mention that the Acting Head of the Directorate is uninndated (sic) with calls from concerned citizens of this country and the media about the long outstanding issue of the illegal rendition of the Zimbabwe nationals which occurred during year 2010.” Ntlemeza notes that while the matter had been primarily handled and referred to “your good office” by IPID “it is with respect and great interest of this office to enquire as to when can this matter be decided upon so as to forge a way towards its finanlization (sic)”. The Bern ended his letter with a flourish saying he was “looking forward to receiving a speedy response so that the public interest can be curtailed to the accounting process (sic)”. Sibiya has not only had to face the trumped-up criminal charges but also a DPCI disciplinary initiated by Ntlemza and chaired by AdvocateMxolisi Zondo. Zondo's ruling is riddled with contradictions, at once stating that Sibiya could not, according to evidence, have been present at the “handing over” of the Zimbabwean fugitives, while on the other hand finding Sibiya guilty of doing just that. In paragraph 27 of his ruling, Zondo clearly states “...on a balance of probabilities, General Sibiya could not have been present during the operation on the 5thNovember 2010”. In the Dramat/Sibiya matter, as well as others, including the hounding of IPID director Robert McBride, the legal system and the courts have been abused with the aim of financially crippling the selected target. This should not end well for those in the state who have colluded this way. Sibiya (and others who have been targeted) has a right to justice and to recoup the financial burden – which runs into millions – in a civil matter, a route that is currently being considered. That aside, what should become of all those in the rotten chain of command at the NPA in this case, as well as the botched attempt at prosecuting Pravin Gordhan, in what was clearly a politically-motivated hit? Did any of these officials, including Minister Nathi Mthetwha, defeat the ends of justice in collusion with a network of appointments to the Criminal Justice Sector in order to cover up industrial scale looting? The truth will out, one way or another. South Africans are living through an extraordinarily traumatic lancing of a festering political boil that was allowed to develop by the governing party under Zuma's watch. From the Nugent to the Zondo commission to various court cases and challenges an torrent of corruption and looting has been exposed. Shadrack Sibiya and those of his ilk, should not be left standing in the ruins and the attempt to rebuild the credibility of the South African state. We salute you General. DM