Illegal renditions to Zimbabwe: More Hawks receive suspension notices
By Solly Maphumulo
SOUTH AFRICA – Three more Hawks officers have received notices of an intention to suspend them for their alleged role in the illegal rendition of four Zimbabweans.
Witness Ndeya, Shepherd Tshuma, Nelson Ndlovu and Maqhawe Sibanda – who were suspected of killing a Chief Superintendent Chatikobo in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe – were allegedly kidnapped by members of the Hawks in Diepsloot, north of Joburg, in November 2010. But when they were arrested, they were told they were being deported.
On Monday, Hawks spokesman Hangwani Mulaudzi confirmed that Warrant Officer Jacob Makoe, 46, Captain Sipho Nkosi, 51, and Constable Paul Radebe, 36, had been served with notices of the intention to suspend them.
He said: “They were all implicated for the issues surrounding the rendition. Makoe and Radebe have been given until Thursday to respond and say why they should not be suspended, while Nkosi has until March 2.”
The trio work at the SAPS’s Benoni Organised Crime Unit.
A source close to the investigation said: “Radebe, Makoe and Nkosi have been implicated for the assault, falsification of the Home Affairs documentation as well as the rendition itself.
“No Hawks officer is allowed to deport anyone or deal with Home Affairs documents.
“The witnesses have now started to speak out.
“They are naming all the people who participated in the rendition. They have realised that this is a serious matter and have started to spill the beans, because they don’t want to get arrested alone. We have a very strong case now.”
The rendition recently led to the suspension of two top cops, Lieutenant-General Anwa Dramat and Major-General Shadrack Sibiya, pending a probe into their alleged involvement in the illegal rendition of the four Zimbabweans in November 2010.
Colonel Leslie “Cowboy” Maluleke was also suspended.
A court has ruled that Dramat and Sibiya’s suspensions were unlawful and that they should return to work.
Dramat is on special leave following a mutual agreement between him and Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko, while Sibiya was unable to return to work on Monday as acting Hawks boss Mthandazo Ntlemeza appealed against Friday’s court ruling that favoured him.
The four Zimbabweans were detained at Orlando police station in Soweto before they were reportedly driven to Beit Bridge and handed over to the Zimbabwean police and arrested.
Sibanda and Ndlovu were reportedly dropped off on a freeway by officers from Orlando police station and told to run away because they would be killed in Zimbabwe.
Tshuma was released 10 days later, but Ndeya died of multiple gunshot wounds.
Tshuma skipped Zimbabwe and came back to South Africa.
The pair have been in hiding since 2011 as they feared they would be captured by the Hawks and sent back to Zimbabwe to be killed.
Two weeks ago, the two rendition survivors, Sibanda and Tshuma, broke their silence and gave a chilling account of how they were allegedly assaulted and tortured by the Hawks before they were driven to Zimbabwe.
Tshuma and Sibanda claimed they were arrested by Sibiya, Maluleke and Radebe.
They claimed Sibiya was in Diepsloot when they were arrested, but said he did not participate in the assault.
Attempts to get comment from Nkosi and Makoe were unsuccessful as their cellphones had been switched off. Radebe said he was not allowed to speak to the media, but added he was “very angry”. The Star (SA)