SAPS IN CRISIS
Ipid registers criminal case against National Commissioner Sitole for dodging questions on Kinnear assassination
A criminal case docket against Khehla Sitole was lodged on 9 December 2021 under section 33 of the Ipid Act at Pretoria Central Police Station for failing to cooperate with an investigation. Ipid's Executive Director Jennifer Ntlatseng has referred the matter to Cele “for noting and intervention”.
The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) has lodged a criminal charge against National Commissioner Khehla Sitole for failing to cooperate in an investigation into the murder of Anti-Gang Unit detective Lieutenant-Colonel Charl Kinnear. The criminal complaint number is Pretoria Central CAS 177/12/2021.
Sitole has already been found guilty, along with senior colleagues Francinah Vuma and Lebeoana Tsumane, by the Gauteng High Court of breaching the same section of the Ipid Act as well as their duties as SA Police Service officers. (This was after a three-year battle by Sitole to frustrate an Ipid investigation into the 2017 R45-million “Nasrec Grabber” scandal.)
In that instance, the court found that Sitole and his fellow senior officers had placed the interests of the governing party, the ANC, above those of the citizens of South Africa.
Sitole remains in his position, in spite of threats by President Cyril Ramaphosa to institute an inquiry into his fitness to hold office. He remained in place through heated criticism of police failures during the July 2021 “insurrection” in KZN and Gauteng after Jacob Zuma’s imprisonment.
On 26 January 2022, Ipid Executive Director Jennifer Ntlatseng wrote to Police Minister Bheki Cele, requesting his intervention as Sitole had allegedly in 2021 ducked several attempts by Ipid investigators to interview him.
Lirandzu Themba, spokesperson for Cele, confirmed to Daily Maverick that the information note from Ipid had been received by Cele’s office. No comment has been made as yet as to how the minister intends to proceed.
Daily Maverick has had sight of the information note, in which Ntlatseng sets out how an Ipid investigation had established “a need for the National Commissioner of SAPS to explain his role and responsibilities of certain identified issues/investigations”.
Sitole’s “assistance and clarity”, she wrote to Cele, “was and is pivotal” and investigators had attempted “on a number of occasions through official letters, electronic communications and telephone calls to seek the availability of General Sitole to attend an interview with the Ipid team without success”.
On 8 April 2021 Sitole was requested by Ipid to “avail himself for interview” with the proposed date of 30 April 2021. No response was received, said Ntlatseng. Follow-up calls were also made which “did not yield the desired result”.
Sitole had on 22 June 2021 been alerted through the Office of the SAPS Executive Legal Adviser that the Ipid investigators sought to interview him.
“The team provided an overview of the issues/investigations which the team wanted to transverse with the National Commissioner as the Accounting Officer of the SAPS,” wrote Ntlatseng.
Sitole, she added, had been advised by the SAPS legal officer to meet with the team and remain “on standby”. On 26 November, Ipid again corresponded with Sitole’s office.
“All the above-mentioned efforts to secure an appointment with the National Commissioner have failed due to his non-cooperation.”
Ntlatseng has now referred the matter to Cele “for noting and intervention”.
In November 2021, Ipid completed a comprehensive investigation into the circumstances leading up to and surrounding Kinnear’s murder outside his home in Bishop Lavis, Cape Town, on 18 September 2020.
The investigation into the fraught circumstances surrounding Kinnear’s murder was prompted by the public outcry that followed. It was clear that the decorated detective had been left vulnerable and exposed by his employer, the SAPS.
Was this deliberate or just incompetent?
Kinnear, who had been working single-handedly on at least 20 cases involving illegal gun licences, corrupt SAPS colleagues and prominent organised crime figures, had in 2018 circulated a 59-page memorandum to his superiors, including Sitole, informing them his life was in danger.
He set out how a rogue Crime Intelligence unit in the Western Cape, consisting of at least six members, had been targeting SAPS colleagues, interfering with investigations and acting criminally by colluding with underworld figures. The unit had targeted Kinnear, Jeremy Vearey, Peter Jacobs and other SAPS members.
What that Ipid investigation set out is that all of Kinnear’s evidence and warnings to SAPS top brass were either ignored, not acted upon or acted upon when too late.
The police watchdog also found that Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation officers had been aware Kinnear’s movements were being monitored in the run-up to his assassination, but had failed to act.
The police watchdog recommended serious action be taken against those officials found to have been asleep on the job, who may have colluded with criminals or turned a blind eye to the nightmare faced by a sterling officer serving his country.
Sitole, Vuma and others inexplicably remain in key senior positions in the SAPS, a crucial national service that has been almost destroyed by years of infighting along ANC factional lines, criminal infiltration and cooperation with criminal networks. DM
Daily Maverick © All rights reserved