'Ipid harrasing, intimidating me over Moerane Commission presentations'

KZN Ipid ethics manager Amar Maharaj says days before he was due to appear before the commission he was harassed and questioned on his authority to submit evidence.

FILE: The Moerane Commission of Inquiry is investigating political killings in KwaZulu-Natal. Picture: Ziyanda Ncgobo/EWN

DURBAN – A KwaZulu-Natal Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) ethics manager has accused the police watchdog of trying to harass and intimidate him into not making presentations before the Moerane Commission of Inquiry investigating political killings in the province.

Two weeks ago, Amar Maharaj submitted a report against his own organisation, detailing how senior management gave instructions to close more than 1,000 incomplete cases over a two-year period in order to boost performance bonuses.

Maharaj says days before he was due to appear before the commission, he was harassed and questioned on his authority to submit evidence because he did not deal directly with investigations.

He says not only was he harassed before appearing at the Commission, he says after submitting his evidence he was locked out of the organisation’s emailing system.

He says the restrictions on his emails were because of an instruction from Ipid’s spokesperson Moses Dlamini to the watchdog’s IT department.

“Mr Dlamini was looking for an email on 27 July that I had sent to the commission.”

Maharaj’s testimony corroborates some of the evidence submitted by community activist Vanessa Burger, who accused Ipid of protecting cops allegedly involved in violence at the infamous Glebelands Hostel.

Ipid officials were meant to appear before the commission on Monday but asked for more time to review the transcripts of Maharaj’s testimony in order to be able to respond appropriately to the allegations.

COUNCILLORS ELECTION PROCESS

The Commission has heard that South Africa may have reached a point where it needs to review its councillor system.

On Tuesday the South African Local Government Association (Salga) made presentations in Mayville where it unpacked the impact of the murders on local government.

Representatives have recommended that political parties should move toward having stronger systems to ensure that quality councillors are elected to work in municipalities.

They have also suggested that the capacity and qualifications of prospective councillors be considered by political parties.

Salga’s Bhekumzi Stofile said the killings in KZN and other parts of the country often stem from internal political squabbles.

“And as you select the candidate, in that process, unwittingly it creates some competition within and among those that see themselves as possible councillors.”

'SA DEMOCRACY COULD BE HIJACKED BY PEOPLE WITH MONEY'

The commission has also heard that South Africa's democracy has the potential to be hijacked by people with money.

Salga described how internal political party squabbles have also contributed toward the violence in the province because of competition between candidates.

Salga suggested that a minimum set of competency levels should become a pre-requisite for councillors.

The association's Lance Joel said: “We are saying as an organisation if we want to attract and retract appropriate skills we must have competition levels, but it’s not for us to determine that because is in the political arena.”

Councillor Bhekumzi Stofile said the internal processes of how political parties select candidates should also be reviewed to ensure quality councillors in municipalities.

“They are in the process of hijacking democracy because of money individuals possess, then rent a crowd for him to be seen as a preferred candidate, which goes back to impact to the democratic processes of organisations in which they identify councillors.”

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)