Mo­er­ane re­port not handed over

Whis­tle-blower blasts premier

Daily News - - NEWS - KAILENE PIL­LAY

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

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.