Moerane report not handed over
Whistle-blower blasts premier
WHISTLE-BLOWER and corruption fighter Thabiso Zulu staged a walkout with journalists after waiting for over an hour for the report of the Moerane Commission to be handed over to Premier Willies Mchunu.
Mchunu established the commission on October 31, 2016, to investigate the underlying causes of political killings in the province since 2011.
More than 60 people, including Zulu, testified before the commission, headed by advocate Marumo Moerane. The hearings concluded oral evidence on March 12 and the report on the commission was meant to be handed over to Mchunu yesterday.
After waiting for about an hour and a half, more than 25 journalists and cameramen and women walked out of the offices when Mchunu’s spokesperson Thami Ngidi said he could not say when the media briefing would start.
Speaking to journalists in the foyer of the Office of the Premier in Durban yesterday, Zulu lambasted Mchunu and the government saying he was promised protection when giving evidence at the commission but after threat assessments by the state, he still lives in fear.
“We risked our lives and appeared at the commission and testified. When we expected protection to be provided, they are giving us stories. They are saying they can’t provide protection to private citizens,” Zulu said.
He started his activism in 2010. The death threats started late last year after he spoke out at a memorial service for slain Sindiso Magaqa, who had exposed corruption in Umzimkhulu Municipality. Magaqa had provided Zulu with information on the mil- lions that were missing from the Umzimkhulu Hall project.
Zulu said he provided documents and evidence to the Moerane Commission.
Following his threat assessments, it was found that there are legitimate threats on his life, “but the state remains adamant that it is not willing to provide security to private people,” he said.
Zulu said the premier’s failure to start the press briefing on time and honour a meeting with journalists showed the government did not care and was disrespectful.
According to the premier’s spokesperson Ngidi, a cabinet meeting was called around the same time of the press briefing that resulted in the delay and after an outcry from journalists, Ngidi agreed to postpone the briefing.
Moerane commission secretary Solo Mdledle said it was unfair of Zulu to say his safety was compromised by his testimony at the commission.
“He made public allegations of corruption at Sindiso Magaqa’s memorial service; we called him to the commission thereafter,” he said, adding that it was a police competency to provide protection for witness.
“He says there was an assessment done. The assistance the commission could give was to refer his matter to the SAPS, which we did and that is the extent of our involvement.
“I’m not sure what kind of security he wants, but I think it’s private security assigned to him. I think that is where the dispute between him and the SAPS is,” Mdledle explained.
SAPS spokesperson Brigadier Jay Naicker said: “We are not mandated to guard those that gave evidence at the commission.” – Additional reporting Zimasa Matiwane