senior official who queried the appointment of Deputy Police Minister Maggie Sotyu’s daughter to a top job in the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) has been suspended. Seven sources in the police’s watchdog body said the organisation’s chief director of corporate services, Nomkhosi Netsianda, was suspended on Wednesday.
Netsianda’s crime, according to a letter City Press has seen, was that she allegedly leaked information regarding Boniwe Sotyu’s appointment.
She is also accused of storming out of a meeting at which senior Ipid officials discussed dropping a court challenge to Police Minister Nathi Nhleko’s alleged interference in the functioning of the organisation, which was launched by its suspended head Robert McBride.
Last month, City Press reported that Boniwe Sotyu was appointed as the Free State’s deputy director of investigations even though she had never conducted investigations before and her qualifications were limited to a certificate from the Safety and Security Sector Education and Training Authority.
Documents that City Press published contained Netsianda’s handwritten objection to the appointment. She wrote that Boniwe Sotyu had neither the qualifications nor experience for the job. But she was appointed anyway, with acting Ipid head Israel Kgamanyane saying in a memorandum that she had scored the most points of all the candidates. The department of police has oversight of Ipid.
Shortly after City Press’ exposé, Kgamanyane threatened staff members with lie detector tests and a State Security Agency investigation into who had leaked the information.
Kgamanyane, who three Ipid sources said was “close” to the deputy minister, also ordered the confiscation and analysis of a number of staff members’ computers. Last Friday, two senior Hawks officers – a brigadier and a colonel – arrived at City Press’ Joburg offices to ask for the internal appointment documents and information about our sources. City Press refused to give them the information.
The seven Ipid sources said Kgamanyane had a close working relationship with acting Hawks head Mthandazo Ntlemeza, and at least two Ipid
investigations into Ntlemeza’s conduct had gone stagnant.
Asked for comment, Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said Ntlemeza was “never mentioned or being investigated at all” in one case involving senior police managers, which the National Prosecuting Authority had also declined to prosecute. In the other case, he said, there was no evidence of any wrongdoing. Mulaudzi said City Press’ “intense focus” on Ntlemeza was “mischievous or an overzealous obsession”.
The seven Ipid officials said Kgamanyane had also halted an investigation into another senior Hawks official related to the death of a suspect in police custody.
City Press put all these allegations to Kgamanyane in a phone conversation on Friday afternoon, but he refused to comment. “Whoever told you that must comment,” he said. Two days after the senior Hawks officers visited City Press, Mulaudzi called to apologise on Ntlemeza’s behalf, saying the investigators’ conduct had been “wrong”. Mulaudzi said they were investigating a case of fraud, but were not aware that their officers had tried to obtain documents from City Press. “We are taking this matter very seriously and the general [Ntlemeza] is looking into it,” he said.
The Public Service Commission (PSC) is investigating Boniwe Sotyu’s appointment.
Spokesperson Humphrey Ramafoko confirmed it was investigating how she was appointed, allegedly without the required qualifications and experience. “At this point, the PSC cannot confirm whether the role of officials at Ipid, including its head, Mr
Israel Kgamanyane, will be investigated, as the PSC is still in its early stages of analysis,” he said.
Documents relating to Sotyu’s appointment revealed that she was given the job ahead of 90 others, one of whom had more than 22 years’ experience as a police officer, another who had received six awards for his investigation work and an investigator with a law degree.
Sotyu had three years and four months’ relevant experience, and an “unrecognised” diploma in policing. The job advertisement stipulated a bachelor’s degree or a diploma in law or policing, at least four years’ experience in managing criminal investigations and project management experience.