Wit­ness de­mands pro­tec­tion

The Mercury - - FRONT PAGE - Kai­lene Pil­lay

ONE of the wit­nesses in the Mo­er­ane in­quiry into po­lit­i­cal killings in KwaZulu-Natal says he is still strug­gling to get a tran­script of his own tes­ti­mony.

The fi­nal re­port from the Mo­er­ane Com­mis­sion will be made avail­able to the pub­lic soon.

But cor­rup­tion-fighter Thabiso Zulu – the man re­spon­si­ble for blow­ing the lid on the alleged rea­sons be­hind the as­sas­si­na­tion of Sindiso Ma­gaqa – has since in­structed his lawyers to de­mand the tran­scripts.

The re­port was handed over to Pre­mier Wil­lies Mchunu on Tues­day night, by the head of the com­mis­sion, Ad­vo­cate Marumo Mo­er­ane.

Mo­er­ane said the 424-page re­port con­tained very specific rec­om­men­da­tions from the ev­i­dence of more than 60 wit­nesses. Zulu was one of the key wit­nesses.

The com­mis­sion was es­tab­lished in 2016 and Mchunu said it was es­tab­lished due to the “wor­ry­ing lev­els of vi­o­lence in the prov­ince which have since not abated”. He es­tab­lished the com­mis­sion to probe po­lit­i­cal vi­o­lence and killings in the prov­ince since 2011.

“We were con­vinced that the num­ber of mur­ders had reached the level of a cri­sis, and felt we had to get to the bot­tom and es­tab­lish the un­der­ly­ing causes,” said Mchunu.

In terms of the prov­ince’s Com­mis­sions Act, the pre­mier must sub­mit the same re­port to the pro­vin­cial leg­is­la­ture not later than 21 days af­ter a re­port of a com­mis­sion of in­quiry has been pre­sented to him.

There­after, the rel­e­vant port­fo­lio com­mit­tee of the pro­vin­cial leg­is­la­ture must make its de­ci­sion within stip­u­lated time-frames and pro­vide for­mal com­ment or in­put in writ­ing, through the Speaker of the leg­is­la­ture, to the pre­mier.

The pre­mier must then, within 21 work­ing days of re­ceiv­ing the writ­ten com­ment or in­put of the rel­e­vant port­fo­lio com­mit­tee, re­lease the re­port of the com­mis­sion to the pub­lic.

The re­lease is done to­gether with an in­di­ca­tion by the pre­mier whether, and to what ex­tent, the find­ings or rec­om­men­da­tions of the com­mis­sion will be im­ple­mented, and the rea­sons thereof.

Zulu tes­ti­fied be­fore the com­mis­sion in Novem­ber about al­le­ga­tions of fraud and cor­rup­tion at uMz­imkhulu Mu­nic­i­pal­ity that he be­lieves led to the as­sas­si­na­tion of Ma­gaqa, a former ANC Youth League sec­re­tary-gen­eral and the most high-pro­file politi­cian yet to be killed in the prov­ince.

Since his tes­ti­mony, Zulu said he has re­ceived nu­mer­ous death threats, has seen sus­pi­cious ve­hi­cles around his home and be­lieves his cell­phone calls and texts are be­ing in­ter­cepted.

He has called for state pro­tec­tion but, af­ter two se­cu­rity as­sess­ments, Zulu has not re­ceived any pro­tec­tion.

“They promised us pro­tec­tion, we went and risked our lives and tes­ti­fied,” Zulu told jour­nal­ists on Tues­day.

“They are telling us sto­ries, they say they can’t pro­vide pro­tec­tion to pri­vate cit­i­zens. That’s not fair.

“Why, in the first place, did they agree that we must appear in the com­mis­sion when they know that they can’t pro­tect pri­vate cit­i­zens?

“Why did they ask for doc­u­ments from pri­vate cit­i­zens that they can’t pro­tect?”

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