South Africa


Fourteen years later, former SAPS North West deputy commissioner to face trial for apartheid-style torture

Former North West Deputy Provincial Commissioner Jan Mabula at the State Capture Commission. (Photo: Screen grab)

The coils of justice are tightening for former SAPS North West Deputy Commissioner Major-General Jan Ntebo Mabula, who will finally face charges of extortion, kidnapping and assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm after a 14-year delay.

Major-General Jan Mabula and his co-accused, Matome Kgorane, Samuel Sanamela Kutumela, Ismael Dawood, Adam Mahlako Moahloli, Mpikwa Meshack Makhubu, Mfana Patrick Makutu and Israel Mdluli, will appear in the South Gauteng High Court on 22 January 2021.

Mabula’s attempt to bring an application for a stay of prosecution pending the outcome of representations to the National Director of the NPA was struck off the roll on Friday, 20 November 2020.

Mabula has enjoyed a measure of protection from prosecution for over a decade as a key player in a series of rogue investigations and tainted arrests. 

The major-general and his team’s targets included the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID), its former head Robert McBride and forensic investigator Paul O’Sullivan. 

Mabula was also part of the politically motivated arrest of KZN Hawks head Johan Booysen and former NPA prosecutor Gerrie Nel.

The matter for which Mabula will now stand trial dates back to a 2006 R14-million robbery of an SAPS store in Benoni.

Three suspects were arrested by the North West team and were interrogated and tortured for three hours. 

An NPA statement issued on 20 November 2020 set out that methods included tubing or the suffocation of a victim with the inner tube of a tyre, the placing of a wet cloth over the faces of the suspects as well as electrocution.

Mabula and his team are further accused of intimidating and extorting R73,000 and R90,000 from the sister of one of the suspects, and a further R90,000 from the mother of another detainee.

The rogue top cop was close to former deputy NPA head Nomgcobo Jiba as well as disgraced former Crime Intelligence head Richard Mdluli – also a key figure in the capture of law enforcement agencies.

It was Gauteng Provincial Prosecutions Director Andrew Chauke who bought more time for Mabula earlier this year by ordering a halt to prosecutions while Mabula made further representations to the NPA.

NPA deputy head Rodney de Kock stepped in to overrule Chauke, which is why the case will now go ahead.

IPID had been investigating the activities of Mabula and the North West team since 2015. 

IPID’s Moses Dlamini at the time said that the directorate had “conducted the investigation and made recommendations to the DPP [Directorate of Public Prosecutions] for the notorious team’s prosecution, which the DPP has agreed with”.

Most of the suspects arrested by Mabula’s men ended up dead, said IPID, with one allegedly tortured and murdered in Mmakau, a village in the Bojanala District in North West.

“Had the crime been committed after the Torture Act was enacted, they would have been charged with torture,” said Dlamini.

There were other investigations against Mabula in the North West, including a matter which ended up in the Klerksdorp courts.

In 2019, IPID made various disciplinary recommendations to the SAPS, which at the time had been slow to respond. DM


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