South Africa: State Capture Inquiry - Zondo to Question Top Cop On Classified Crime Intelligence Documents

23 September 2019

State capture inquiry chairperson Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo says the commission is determined to get answers from national police commissioner General Khehla Sitole on why documents relating to various crime intelligence activities are not declassified.

This comes after testimony by senior Hawks investigator Colonel Kobus Roelofse who told the commission he had battled for seven years to get access to classified documents, and to declassify others, related to his investigations but that these were ignored.

Roelofse said he was told former crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli and his former colleague, former chief financial officer Solomon Lazarus, had pressurised officials not to co-operate with the investigation.

He informed the commission 11 investigations had ensued relating to the state-funded secret service account, adding some of the investigations could not be finalised as documents were not declassified, News24 earlier reported.

Roelofse said what he had testified to was just a "microcosm" of what was going on at the police and with other investigations.

On Monday, Zondo said, arising from Roelofse's testimony, he wanted answers from Sitole on whether he would declassify documents or not.

"From what I have been told, it is difficult to understand that there are proper grounds for any refusal or unpreparedness to declassify some of the documents. But I have only heard one side of the story, I haven't heard the national commissioner's side.

"From what has been explained to me so far, on the face of it, it just does appear that documents which are important for investigations into corruption are not being declassified for reasons that have never even been told to Colonel Roelofse, on his version."

Zondo also wanted to know whether or not Police Minister Bheki Cele could assist to get the documents declassified.

However, Cele's legal representative, advocate Griffiths Madonsela, said his client was out of the country and would not be able to immediately attend to matters raised by Zondo, adding he would need to consult with Cele further.

Meanwhile, Zondo postponed an application brought by former crime intelligence official Colonel Dhanajaya Naidoo who is seeking to have his evidence heard in camera.

The application will be heard on Thursday at 09:30.

Naidoo is currently in witness protection.


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