Top KZN cop was slow to re­act, says wit­ness

Daily News - - NEWS -

A MO­ER­ANE Com­mis­sion wit­ness, Thabiso Zulu, yes­ter­day lashed out at one of KwaZulu-Na­tal’s top po­lice of­fi­cers, who was sit­ting less than 3 me­tres from him.

Tes­ti­fy­ing for the sec­ond day dur­ing the com­mis­sion – tasked with in­ves­ti­gat­ing po­lit­i­cal vi­o­lence in the prov­ince – Zulu said the com­mis­sion had made a mis­take by in­volv­ing Bri­gadier Clif­ford Mar­ion in its pro­ceed­ings.

Mar­ion is head of de­tec­tives in the prov­ince – he sits in on the com­mis­sion and is re­spon­si­ble for the safety of wit­nesses.

Zulu is a former sec­re­tary-gen­eral of the ANC Youth League in the Harry Gwala re­gion. The re­gion has been rocked by five po­lit­i­cal killings this year, the most high-pro­file be­ing former ANCYL sec­re­tary-gen­eral, Sindiso Ma­gaqa.

“It was a mis­take for the com­mis­sion to make Mar­ion part of this com­mis­sion.

“In some of the cases re- ferred to (while tes­ti­fy­ing), the buck stopped with Mar­ion,” Zulu pointed out.

“Mar­ion is the head of de­tec­tives, pro­vin­cial de­tec­tives are re­spon­si­ble to him,” he added.

Zulu made the state­ment af­ter telling com­mis­sion­ers of a po­lit­i­cal killing in Richards Bay in 2016, to il­lus­trate the slow pace of po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tions.

He was as­sist­ing the fam­ily of the man who was killed in what was thought to be a po­lit­i­cally mo­ti­vated mur­der.

He said that he had found Mar­ion to be “use­ful” in other po­lice mat­ters, but not when it came to po­lit­i­cal killings.

Zulu said he had been in con­tact with the Richards Bay po­lice, but they had been “use­less”. He then es­ca­lated the mat­ter but also found Mar­ion slow to re­act, even though Zulu had told the bri­gadier that he had a po­ten­tial wit­ness who could as­sist them in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

“I am try­ing to demon­strate that we had a po­ten­tial wit­ness here and the po­lice took a month to get back to me. There must be ur­gency. These peo­ple are not do­ing us a favour, they get paid. When we give them in­for­ma­tion, we ex­pect them to act,” he said.

When ev­i­dence leader ad­vo­cate Bheki Many­athi asked Zulu to clar­ify that he had pre­vi­ously in­ter­acted with Mar­ion and found his work to be sat­is­fac­tory, Zulu said that was true, but he was not go­ing to ro­man­ti­cise what was hap­pen­ing in the prov­ince.

“I lost a friend, Ma­gaqa. I am not go­ing to be ro­man­tic when deal­ing with these is­sues. The very same thing that hap­pened with these cases (be­fore the com­mis­sion) may hap­pen to me. I am here rep­re­sent­ing peo­ple who may be killed,” he said.

Zulu was ex­pected to con­tinue his tes­ti­mony and was set to re­veal more de­tails on Ma­gaqa’s mur­der. – ANA

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