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Allegations of corruption made against Mpumalanga top cop

The allegations come in the wake of a forensic report compiled a former police commissioner of the province and owner of a forensic investigation company Lieutenant General Thulani Ntobela.

The old saying, “when two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers”, rings true in the province of Mpumalanga.

The conflict is between Lieutenant General Semakaleng Daphney Manamela, the provincial police commissioner, and a “concerned group”, among them a media house, a former senior police officer and some senior policemen under her command.

Manamela is on the warpath after being fingered in alleged maladministration, nepotism, abuse of her power as top cop in the province and alleged corruption.

It is alleged that Manamela, shortly after her arrival in Mpumalanga, insisted that “welcoming functions” must be arranged for her by the districts under her command. She allegedly also insisted on receiving gifts at these functions.

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These allegations are made in a forensic report compiled by Lieutenant General Thulani Ntobela, a former police commissioner of the province and owner of a forensic investigations company, The-i-Firm.

In response to the forensic report, Manamela has now applied for a protection order against Riot Hlatshwayo, a journalist of Rio-Jab Media in Limpopo, who did a series of articles about the allegations. She also applied for the same order against Ntobela. Both will appear in court on December 21.

Ntobela confirmed to Lowvelder that he was indeed the author of the report, and said it was only sent to General Fannie Masemola, the national police commissioner. “This was for his attention, to assist the police in starting their own investigation.”

Ntobela refused to answer any detailed questions from Lowvelder about the content of the forensic report.

In this report, of which the newspaper has seen a copy, it is revealed that it was drawn up at the request of several senior officers in Mpumalanga, in their personal capacity.

“I was approached by the whistle-blower, who wanted to remain anonymous, to investigate the abuse of power by the provincial commissioner, a misuse of tea club funds, nepotism and possible corruption,” Ntobela’s report read.

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He also made it clear in the document that he had no mandate to interview SAPS members and third parties, hence the other side of the story is unknown. “The preliminary findings are only based on information and documentation provided by the whistle-blower,” the report stated.

Numerous startling allegations against Manamela are made in the report. One of the serious ones is that she personally approved a request from a senior officer to collect funds from the various police stations in the province. According to his request, the funds were earmarked to pay for three functions and gifts to speakers. These donations were made from the stations’ tea club funds. Tea club funds are mainly used to ensure prisoners and arrested persons are fed.

More than R1.7m was apparently collected from these tea club funds.

According to an annexure to the report about which police stations made donations, the five largest amounts range from R100 000 to R200 000. The five police stations that donated this money are Barberton, Elukwatini, Piet Retief, Tonga and Witbank.

The report alleged that the welcoming functions were disguised under the pretext of gender-based violence prayer days. Manamela was invited as guest speaker.

It was during these functions that she allegedly received gifts.

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According to the report, some of the allegations against her are:

Unlawful promotions: The undue promotion of a certain colonel did not meet the criteria, as he had only served three years in the rank of lieutenant colonel and did not have any NQF6 qualifications. Two members, a captain and a warrant officer, were promoted despite having serious criminal cases pending against them. The latter is believed to be related to Manamela.

Gifting: At a function held at the Ridge Casino in eMalahleni, she allegedly received a voucher for R150 000. At other events, she allegedly received two furniture vouchers totalling R95 000. A certain amount of this was later allegedly exchanged for cash. Manamela did not declare these gifts, the report suggested.
Ntobela also confirmed that he had submitted his report to Nascom on April 22. He does not know what progress, if any, was made in the investigation.
A list of 44 questions about the allegations against Manamela was sent to her by Lowvelder.

In a short reply sent via a provincial police spokesperson, Brigadier Selvy Mohlala, Manamela said, “Thank you for the media enquiry. The matter is subject to internal police investigations conducted by the head office. It would therefore not be correct to respond or comment on the merits of the matter, which is also a subject of court processes.”

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