THE HAWKS Who is the falconer?
A few pieces of information sum up what is publicly known about the story of Witness Ndeya, one of the two Zimbabweans whose “illegal rendition” more than four years ago is today the reason given for Hawks head Anwa Dramat’s suspension.
At least three senior officials of the Hawks (Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation) have been served with notices of suspension in connection with the Zimbabwe rendition, including Dramat, Gauteng Hawks head Maj-Gen Shadrack Sibiya and Col Leslie Maluleke. On Monday the North Gauteng high court heard an application by the Helen Suzman Foundation for a ruling that police minister Nkosinathi Nhleko did not have the powers to suspend Dramat.
A decision on the application was still pending at the time of going to press. It may be a while before new details on the story behind the renditions emerge.
According to a Sunday Times report of October 2011, Ndeya and his nephew were handed over by the SA authorities in November 2010 under controversial circumstances, including allegedly fake deportation documents, to people who presented themselves as Zimbabwean police. They were linked with the murder of an unknown Zimbabwean policeman. Days later Ndeya was found dead with multiple bullet wounds.
According to that report, Ndeya’s nephew, Shepherd Tshuma, made claims following his release that he had been tortured. He was allegedly in hiding in SA.
Dramat has argued in papers before the North Gauteng high court that the deportation was above board, and that there is a “smear campaign” against him because he has been dealing with high-profile investigations yet to be disclosed.
Among the conclusions that could be drawn from the available information is that those who received Ndeya from the SA authorities were prepared to invest significant resources to get him back to Zimbabwe.
It also means that those who killed him, who may or may not be the same people who received him from the SA officials, felt that his continued existence threatened their interests and therefore he had to be silenced for good.
Had Dramat and those who participated in the deportation taken into consideration the political tensions in Zimbabwe at the time, it might have dawned upon them that Anwa Dramat Deportation of Zimbabweans was above board, he says killing a police officer in that country — a rare occurrence, according to Zimbabwe’s Herald newspaper editor Caesar Zvayi — was likely to be seen as a threat against the state more than a criminal offence.
It is likely, therefore, that killing a police officer would be viewed as a political act. The 2011 killing of Inspector Petros Mutedza — which was reported by City Press in June 2011 and led to the arrest of opposition activists — provides the best example in this regard.
This argument provides the best possible