Wed, 29 Sep 2021

  • Khehla Sitole says it is premature to resign after a SCA ruling against him in the "grabber" case.
  • He told the Portfolio Committee on Police he had been cleared by the Inspector General of Intelligence.
  • Bheki Cele says he knows "just nothing" about all of this.

Beleaguered national police commissioner Khehla Sitole said any talk about resignation was "premature", adding that the courts had failed to take into account an investigation by the Inspector General of Intelligence (IG), which had cleared him and his two deputies of any wrongdoing in the purchase of a "grabber".

Police Minister Bheki Cele, meanwhile, pleaded ignorance on the matter.

On 30 June, the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) dismissed Sitole's application to overturn a high court judgment, which found that he had flouted his fundamental duties as a policeman.

In the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria in January, Judge Norman Davis found that Sitole and two deputies, Francinah Vuma and Leonard Tsumane, had breached their statutory duty regarding the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) Act.

READ | Khehla Sitole in firing line after devastating legal blow

Davis ruled that the three had effectively blocked several of IPID's corruption investigations.

This included a probe into an aborted attempt by police to spend R45 million on a spying device known as a "grabber" - at an inflated price - on the eve of the ANC's 2017 Nasrec elective conference. IPID investigators alleged that the purchase was merely a cover to launder money to buy off voting delegates and swing the outcome in favour of Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

On Thursday, Sitole appeared before the Portfolio Committee on Police.

DA MP Andrew Whitfield asked whether there would be disciplinary steps instituted against Sitole, and whether he would resign.

READ | Rwanda denies hacking Ramaphosa

ANC whip on the committee, Kebby Maphatsoe, said he was also concerned about the "grabber matter" and said the committee must receive a full report on it.

"Myself and the two deputy national commissioners, we are actually already cleared up by the IG investigation on this particular matter. And this matter was investigated by the IG.

"The judgment is based on the classification and declassification of documents, and the evidence by the IG was not taken into account. And, anyway, no grabber was purchased. There was no procurement at all.


"But the matter, chair, is still on review.

"The question whether we will resign or not, I will say it is still premature for us to do that," Sitole said.

Cele pleaded ignorance, saying:

I know nothing about this thing. Just nothing. I know nothing about the original case, I know nothing about the case when it was decided in the court, I know nothing about the case when it was appealed for the first time. I know nothing about the second-time appeal on the Supreme Court. I know nothing about the results. I only knew yesterday [Wednesday] by chance that this decision was taken on the 30th.

He continued: "So the less I talk about it, the better for me. The only problem I have is that some of these decisions are written with cost. Now, it's not clear for me whose cost is that."

Cele said, because a senior official was involved, he would have to sign off on the payments, but of this, too, he knew nothing.

"I've been told by rumours it is around R1.8 million, and I know nothing about that."

The Davis ruling is the basis of Cele's request that President Cyril Ramaphosa appoints a board of inquiry into Sitole's fitness to hold office.

Source: News24

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