News / South Africa / State Capture

Makhosandile Zulu
3 minute read
17 Sep 2019
5:19 pm

Newspaper reports were used to cast suspicion on Dramat, Sibiya, Zondo hears

Makhosandile Zulu

The said reports relate to the 2010 rendition of a group of Zimbabweans to their home country, which Dramat and Sibiya later faced charges for.

A senior police officer, Kobus Roelofse, says he is still dealing with the ramifications of Lawrence Mrwebi's interference in the case against intelligence boss Richard Mdluli. Picture: African News Agency (ANA)

The commission of inquiry into state capture heard on Tuesday how senior police officers in crime intelligence allegedly used newspaper articles to cast suspicions on former Hawks head Anwa Dramat and former Gauteng Hawks head Shadrack Sibiya.

The said newspaper articles were published by the Sunday Times in 2011 and were reports on Zimbabwe renditions from around 2010 or 2011.

Last year, the Sunday Times issued an apology for the discredited reports and undertook to return the awards and prize money it received for articles it ran about the Cato Manor “death squad”, the Sars “rogue unit” and Zimbabwean extraditions.

Criminal charges were brought against Dramat and Sibiya, however, these were provisionally withdrawn by the National Prosecuting Authority last year.

Hawks investigator Kobus Roelofse on Tuesday told the commission, chaired by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, that a Lieutenant Colonel Dhanajay Gangulu Naidoo told him about the use of newspaper articles to cast suspicions on Dramat and Sibiya.

Roelofse said during his investigations into the abuse of funds from the secret service account (SSA) he interviewed Naidoo, who on the second day of being interrogated had decided to cooperate with him.

Naidoo reported directly to former police Major General Solomon Lazarus who had the authority to approve payments from the SSA. Roelofse said Naidoo told him that besides their work relationship, they were also friends and distant family relatives.

Roelofse said after Naidoo had decided to cooperate with him he then confided in Colonel Henie Bernard.

Later that day, on October 19, 2011, Naidoo was fetched from his home by FM08 and FM09 and taken to the private residence of Lazarus, where he was questioned about his cooperation with Roelofse’s investigation. An individual identified as FM010 later joined them at Lazarus’ residence.

Ahead of Roelofse’s testimony, certain names were sealed and so could not be mentioned at the commission, only named by way of code.

Roelofse said Naidoo later told him that he was able to deflect the allegations that he was working with the Hawks.

He said Naidoo told him that on the said day, at some stage he heard Lazarus, FM08, FM09 and FM010 discussing the placement of a newspaper article relating to Dramat and Sibiya.

“He [Naidoo] said that General Lazarus wanted to use sources within the media to write a story in order to take the focus away from them. This, according to Colonel Naidoo, is a strategy employed to cast suspicion on those perceived to be a threat.

“General Lazarus viewed Dramat, as the head of the DCPI [Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation], as the force behind the investigation into crime intelligence,” Roelofse said.

He added that he then relayed this information to Dramat as told to him by Naidoo.

Roelofse also told the commission that Naidoo informed him that Lazarus allegedly paid certain newspaper reporters using funds from the SSA to either publish or withhold certain articles with the intent of pushing a certain narrative.

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