Seven KZN police officers face disciplinary action for arresting anti-corruption activist
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DURBAN - HUMAN Rights activists Vanessa Burger and Mary de Haas have called for harsher sanctions against seven police officers who allegedly maliciously arrested anti-corruption activist Thabiso Zulu.
According to Burger, Zulu was arrested in July 2020 by the Pietermaritzburg Public Order Policing (POP) unit on seemingly bogus charges of “inciting violence”.
Burger said the arrest appeared to stem from a complaint laid at Mountain Rise police station by Copesville councillor Sphamandla Madlala, following housing-related protests that took place in the ward. The charges were subsequently withdrawn. According to Zulu, the prosecutor declined to prosecute the matter. He then lodged a complaint with the provincial management against the seven police officers and they followed up the matter.
On Friday, provincial police commissioner Lieutenant-General Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi’s office wrote to Zulu informing him that the investigation has been completed and there was a prima facie case against the police officers.
The matter has been referred for a disciplinary hearing against the members.
Zulu confirmed he received a letter from the commissioner’s office. He said he was relieved and felt vindicated by his long-standing view that police were involved in his victimisation and assassination attempts on his life.
“Now that these officers are facing sanction and following a recent senior management decision that these latest cases are to be investigated by the Political Killings Task Team, we hope that the truth will emerge regarding crime intelligence and Mountain Rise SAPS’s alleged collusion with politicians. The continued attempts on Zulu and his associates lives may end,” said Burger.
Further, she said Zulu’s persistent persecution hammers home the hollowness of the State’s purported commitment to the protection of whistle-blowers and witnesses as well as the depths to which the police have sunk in their involvement with the ANC’s factional politics and organised crime.
De Haas, who is also a violence monitor, said if found guilty the officers must be given a harsher sentence.
“Depending on the outcome of the disciplinary action, but if found to have ignored police orders, I agree there should be a harsh penalty,” said De Haas.
Burger and De Haas have been vocal in supporting Zulu and other whistle-blowers in the province. Burger has been questioning the role of police in the Glebelands hostel violence, which has claimed more than 100 people in recent years.
Her probing eventually led to the arrest of police officer Bhekukwazi Mdweshu. He is currently on trial in the Pietermaritzburg High Court.