Gaut­eng top cop faces charges

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

Gaut­eng po­lice com­mis­sioner Ma­jor Gen­eral Deliwe de Lange has been ac­cused of pro­tect­ing and pro­mot­ing a white com­mand­ing of­fi­cer who was found guilty – along­side two black sub­or­di­nates and a re­servist – of shoot­ing dead an in­no­cent woman. In a tragic case of mis­taken iden­tity, Con­stance Mab­ula was shot dead in Oc­to­ber last year af­ter drop­ping her brother off in Ra­bie Ridge, Midrand, af­ter a fam­ily gath­er­ing in Alexan­dra. The 31-year-old mother of two was driv­ing a Ford Ever­est of the same make and model as a re­ported hi­jacked ve­hi­cle po­lice of­fi­cers were look­ing for. As she dropped her brother off, the three po­lice of­fi­cers and a po­lice re­servist opened fire on her and sprayed her car with bul­lets. They did not first ver­ify that her num­ber­plate matched that of the hi­jacked car, or check whether the oc­cu­pants were armed. Her brother sur­vived the shoot­ing af­ter sev­eral bul­lets, fired by of­fi­cers the po­lice unit had called for backup, missed him. Mab­ula died on the scene and the po­lice of­fi­cers re­alised that they had shot the wrong per­son. Now, charges of fraud and de­feat­ing the ends of jus­tice have been laid against De Lange and her deputy, Ma­jor Gen­eral Jeanette Bas­son, by Mab­ula’s hus­band, Phaleng Mab­ula, who is a po­lice of­fi­cer at­tached to the Sand­ton po­lice sta­tion. In his af­fi­davit, he ac­cuses De Lange and her deputy of “se­lec­tively” dis­miss­ing two black of­fi­cers – Con­sta­ble DP Mach­a­bal­ala and Con­sta­ble NJ Makga­matha. The two were found guilty fol­low­ing a dis­ci­plinary hear­ing in Septem­ber last year, along­side their com­mand­ing of­fi­cer, Lieu­tenant Colonel V Roberts, for caus­ing his wife’s death. The hear­ing rec­om­mended that all three of­fi­cers be dis­missed. In ad­di­tion, le­gal ad­vice from the po­lice’s own le­gal di­vi­sion agreed with the find­ing and rec­om­men­da­tion. While De Lange ap­proved the dis­missal of Mach­a­bal­ala and Makga­matha, she ap­par­ently ig­nored the rec­om­mended sanc­tion against Roberts and, while his dis­ci­plinary hear­ing was un­der­way, he was pro­moted to the rank of full colonel. City Press has ob­tained Roberts’ dis­missal no­tice, which re­mains un­signed by De Lange. Hand­writ­ten notes by a po­lice hu­man re­sources of­fi­cial read: “Gen­eral, if you are not con­firm­ing dis­missal, what are you re­plac­ing it with? You are re­plac­ing the dis­missal with that sanc­tion? It could be writ­ten warn­ing (fi­nal) or sus­pended dis­missal?” Two se­nior pro­vin­cial po­lice of­fi­cers based at pro­vin­cial po­lice head­quar­ters in Park­town told City Press that De Lange chose to is­sue what they called a “fi­nal, fi­nal and fi­nal warn­ing”.

This in­fu­ri­ated Phaleng Mab­ula who, in an af­fi­davit made at the Hill­brow po­lice sta­tion, has com­plained about the se­lec­tive sanc­tion ap­plied for the same of­fence, as well as the po­lice’s al­leged con­ceal­ment of ev­i­dence im­pli­cat­ing Roberts. In his af­fi­davit, Phaleng Mab­ula says that while po­lice man­age­ment tried to deny that Roberts fired his weapon and that his con­sta­bles did the shoot­ing, it was later dis­cov­ered that he shot eight rounds.

“This gives an im­pres­sion that the crim­i­nals in blue are black males, while white mem­bers are holier than thou. This is in­dica­tive of this com­mis­sioner and her deputy be­ing com­mis­sioned of­fi­cers who are not fit and proper to hold their cur­rent po­si­tions in the ser­vice,” he said. Phaleng Mab­ula said what made it worse for him was that De Lange pro­moted Roberts while his dis­ci­plinary hear­ing was still un­der­way, and af­ter a mur­der charge had been laid with the In­de­pen­dent Po­lice In­ves­tiga­tive Direc­torate (Ipid).

Po­lice pol­icy dic­tates that no po­lice of­fi­cer may be pro­moted while charges against them are be­ing pur­sued. “The lives of my chil­dren since the un­timely death of their mother have not been the same. I was never taken for coun­selling by the po­lice,” Phaleng Mab­ula writes in his af­fi­davit.

“My wife was the pil­lar of strength in the fam­ily and it is still dif­fi­cult for me and my chil­dren to cope.”

In its le­gal ad­vice to De Lange, the po­lice’s own le­gal opin­ion was highly crit­i­cal of Roberts. The re­port into his con­duct states: “With 28 years of ser­vice and 14 years in the Vis­pol [vis­i­ble polic­ing] en­vi­ron­ment, he had suf­fi­cient ex­pe­ri­ence to have taken proper con­trol of the sit­u­a­tion.”

The le­gal opin­ion also said that the three of­fi­cers who shot Con­stance Mab­ula were “trig­ger-happy and fired at will with no or­der given to them to shoot”.

Ipid is cur­rently in­ves­ti­gat­ing a case of mur­der and at­tempted mur­der.

Gaut­eng po­lice spokesper­son Bri­gadier Mathapelo Peters said the case against De Lange and her deputy was “trans­ferred from Hill­brow to the pro­vin­cial in­ves­ti­gat­ing unit in De­cem­ber”.

“The unit is about to con­clude the in­ves­ti­ga­tion. We there­fore can­not com­ment at this stage,” she said.

Deliwe de Lange

Con­stance Mab­ula

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