News / South Africa

Nkululeko Ncana
2 minute read
5 Jul 2017
8:02 am

Mahlobo can predict big crimes, but can’t always stop them

Nkululeko Ncana

The state security minister has complained that violent crimes, fraud and corruption are becoming nearly impossible to combat.

Minister of State Security David Mahlobo. (Photo: GCIS)

ANC NEC member and State Security Minister David Mahlobo has made a startling revelation that the intelligence services and police knew about the planned violent protests that saw schools and other infrastructure burnt to the ground in Limpopo.

Mahlobo told journalists yesterday that the intelligence services further informed police about the imminent violence 24 hours before the chaos unfolded.

“We knew about Vuwani and Malamulele a year before it would happen. Our problem is our ability to get successful prosecution,” Mahlobo said.

He was reporting back on commission discussions at the ANC’s fifth national policy conference on peace and stability, which took place at Nasrec, south of Johannesburg.

Residents of Vuwani in Limpopo went on the rampage in 2016 following more than a decade of objections against their area’s incorporation into the Thulamela municipality.

Following growing frustration, schools were targeted and many were reduced to ashes, leaving pupils unable to attend school for months.

Mahlobo was responding to a question in relation to the capability of the country’s intelligence services to foil potential serious crimes that have occurred at national key point areas such as Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport, which has seen two security breaches and robberies this year alone.

The latest was a few days ago when brazen robbers, some of whom were wearing a security company’s reflector jackets, made their way in the cargo terminal of OR Tambo to a Swiss-port warehouse where they stole a truck carrying cellphones.

The robbery was foiled by the swift action of the police, leaving one of the robbers dead.

Mahlobo said shoddy investigative work, evidence collection and putting together a prosecutable docket essentially rendered violent crimes, fraud and corruption nearly impossible to combat.

He said readying case dockets was taking far too long and that, once finalised, their quality meant prosecutors would decline to prosecute because of a lack of evidence.

Mahlobo told reporters the state furthermore found it difficult to prosecute corruption cases because of the resources those implicated had, which they used to drag court processes over a number of years at a large cost to the state.

Among other matters discussed by the commission was the transformation of the judiciary and avoiding what he said was the “encroachment and overreach” of the court in political and government policy matters.

This was in reaction to the avalanche of court cases the ANC-led government has lost, where opposition political parties and civil society groups have reached out to the judiciary, seeking relief on matters where they felt government and parliament was in breach of constitutional responsibilities.