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Pretoria - A senior police officer who was blamed for the raid on Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s office two years ago is now suing his bosses for R1 million for defamation.
Colonel Johannes Bauka Maluleke and a Captain Nkuta, of the SAPS Crime intelligence Unit, were blamed for the raid, as it was said that they arrived unannounced at Madonsela’s office.
It was said that they demanded documents from her office which formed part of her highly critical report on (then) national police commissioner General Bheki Cele and his lease for new national headquarters from property tycoon Roux Shabangu.
Maluleke has instituted a R1m damages claim in the Pretoria High Court against the minister of police (in his official capacity), but made it clear that it was just an estimated amount which might later change.
His claims are based on allegations that he was blamed for the raid. But Maluleke said in court papers “he at all relevant times obeyed his superiors’ reasonable and lawful instructions, as well as advice received from Crime Intelligence’s legal office, which led to his visit to the office of the public protector on March 2, 2011”.
He instituted various claims relating to the Madonsela raid, including R200 000 for “false charges and accusations” levelled against him, which led to his suspension from the SAPS.
He said he was accused of serious misconduct as he “approached the public protector and questioned her on her report into the new police headquarters”.
Maluleke was suspended by Lieutenant-General Richard Mdluli a day after “his visit to Madonsela”.
His suspension and the charges against him were withdrawn on April 13, 2011.
He was also not called before a disciplinary hearing following his earlier suspension, he said.
Maluleke said these “false” allegations against him damaged his good reputation, were defamatory and implied that he acted disgracefully as a policeman.
He is also aggrieved about statements made by, among others, McIntosh Polela, who at the time acted as a spokesman for the SAPS.
In these statements made to the media, it was said that the police strongly condemned “an act of alleged invasion of the office of the public protector by members of counter-intelligence”. It was said that those members acted outside their mandate.
Maluleke said Polela told the media that the visit was unannounced, which was unacceptable, and that protocol was thus not followed. He said his name was specifically mentioned in the media reports.
He said the fact that he was blamed for the raid, while he only followed orders from his superiors, caused him psychological trauma and he now suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result.
Maluleke also said that his identity was published, thereby violating the secrecy code. This resulted in his fearing for his life as well as for his family. This also contributed to his psychological trauma.