Fight­back coali­tion

Un­der-fire heads of Sars, the Hawks and Ipid join forces with ex-col­leagues to bat­tle cor­rup­tion and de­fend the in­de­pen­dence of state in­sti­tu­tions

CityPress - - News - ABRAM MASHEGO abram.mashego@city­press.co.za

Robert McBride, the sus­pended head of po­lice watch­dog the In­de­pen­dent Po­lice In­ves­tiga­tive Direc­torate (Ipid) – to­gether with for­mer SA Rev­enue Ser­vice (Sars) deputy com­mis­sioner Ivan Pil­lay and axed Hawks boss Anwa Dra­mat – have banded to­gether to fight what they in­sist are trumped-up charges.

The three have charges pend­ing against them af­ter be­ing in­ves­ti­gated by the Hawks.

Now they have for­mu­lated a fight­back plan, which in­volves a pub­lic re­la­tions drive, lob­by­ing politi­cians to in­ter­vene, as­sist­ing one another in putting a strong case to­gether in court, and fundrais­ing pub­licly to cover their le­gal fees.

They have also joined forces with a num­ber of their for­mer sub­or­di­nates who have been sus­pended since last year. The coali­tion con­sists of the fol­low­ing mem­bers:

From Sars: Pil­lay and for­mer col­leagues Peter Richer, Jo­hann van Log­geren­berg, Yolisa Pikie and Adrian Lackay;

From the Hawks: Dra­mat and his for­mer sub­or­di­nates, fired Gaut­eng Hawks head Shadrack Sibiya, KwaZulu-Na­tal head Jo­han Booy­sen and Pre­to­ria head Les­ley Maluleke; and

From Ipid: McBride and his col­leagues, Pule Maoka, Matthews Se­soko, Feli­cia Nt­shangase and Nomkhosi Net­sianda.

The group, led by McBride, Dra­mat, Pil­lay and Sibiya, held a meet­ing at Luthuli House late last month while Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma was on a state visit to Iran.

They met ANC sec­re­tary-gen­eral Gwede Man­tashe, Trea­surer-Gen­eral Zweli Mkhize and ANC deputy sec­re­tary-gen­eral Jessie Duarte.

“They told the three that they were be­ing tar­geted by Po­lice Min­is­ter Nathi Nh­leko, Hawks boss Mthandazo Bern­ing Ntle­meza and Sars com­mis­sioner Tom Moy­ane,” said an in­sider.

City Press was in­formed by three in­de­pen­dent sources close to the pro­tag­o­nists that Pil­lay and Dra­mat told the ANC lead­ers that, although they me­di­ated with the state on their be­half dur­ing their exit ne­go­ti­a­tions, “Moy­ane and Nh­leko have re­neged on their agree­ments that they would not be in­ves­ti­gated or pur­sued fur­ther”.

The group also claimed at the meet­ing that Moy­ane and Nh­leko were us­ing state re­sources to fight them, while they had no money to fight back.

They added that they would ex­pose cor­rup­tion in state in­sti­tu­tions that might em­bar­rass the party. “They told the ANC that they will fight on all fronts, in­clud­ing go­ing to the me­dia, which may em­bar­rass the rul­ing party as many of those sus­pended and fired in the group are mem­bers of the party,” said the in­sider. City Press un­der­stands that at the meet­ing, the ANC lead­ers promised to “raise their is­sues”. ANC spokesper­son Zizi Kodwa de­nied the meet­ing took place. It is un­der­stood that the group will open a trust ac­count into which mem­bers of the pub­lic who want to sup­port them can do­nate money to help them fight their le­gal bat­tles. The group is­sued their first state­ment this week, say­ing: “The events at the Hawks, Ipid, Sars, Crime In­tel­li­gence, the State Se­cu­rity Agency, Denel and the Na­tional Pros­e­cut­ing Au­thor­ity are not un­re­lated. “There ap­pears to be a re­mark­able co­in­ci­dence in the meth­ods used to re­move of­fi­cials from th­ese in­sti­tu­tions, the play­ers in­volved and their in­ter­sect­ing in­ter­ests. “In our view, at­tacks on in­di­vid­u­als in th­ese in­sti­tu­tions are aimed at un­der­min­ing the fight against cor­rup­tion. “A key part of all of our man­dates was to in­ves­ti­gate cases of cor­rup­tion. In re­view­ing our in­di­vid­ual ex­pe­ri­ences over re­cent weeks, we have dis­cov­ered a con­ver­gence in the cases that we were work­ing on. “A com­mon thread is that cases un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion in­volved in­di­vid­u­als or en­ti­ties with ques­tion­able re­la­tion­ships to those in pub­lic of­fice. “Most of th­ese cases in­volved state ten­ders of some kind that were awarded due to pa­tron­age with in­flu­en­tial in­di­vid­u­als in pub­lic of­fice.” For­mer Sars spokesper­son Lackay wrote that there were com­mon­al­i­ties in how the sus­pended or axed of­fi­cials were re­moved from their po­si­tions. “In­ter­nal doc­u­ments, or ‘al­le­ga­tions’ from within in­sti­tu­tions, are leaked to se­lect jour­nal­ists. Work­ing in tan­dem with ‘anony­mous’ sources, facts are dis­torted in the me­dia,” he wrote. On Tues­day, McBride’s ad­vo­cate, Steven Budlen­der, told the Con­sti­tu­tional Court his client could not do his job in­de­pen­dently if Nh­leko was al­lowed to sus­pend him with­out con­sult­ing other mem­bers of Cab­i­net. In De­cem­ber, the North Gaut­eng High Court ruled that the laws that had al­lowed Nh­leko to sus­pend McBride were un­con­sti­tu­tional. Nh­leko ap­pealed the rul­ing, but has since changed his po­si­tion, say­ing he un­der­stood that sus­pend­ing McBride was un­law­ful, but re­quested that the court not rule on the le­gal­ity of his sus­pen­sion. McBride this week ac­cused Nh­leko of be­ing a “se­rial vi­o­la­tor” of the Con­sti­tu­tion.

PO­LICE Robert McBride

HAWKS Anwa Dra­mat

SARS Ivan Pil­lay

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