Johannesburg – Joburg Mayor Herman Mashaba has accused Hawks head Major-General Berning Ntlemeza of stalling key corruption investigations.
Because of this, he has personally approached the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) to intervene.
In his effort to clean up alleged corruption within the City of Joburg, Mashaba met Ipid head Robert McBride on Monday and requested an investigation into Ntlemeza.
“This follows serious allegations being brought forward of Ntlemeza interfering in criminal investigations reported by the city. It includes an instruction made to all members involved in such investigations to no longer pursue such cases, nor arrest suspects."
"Further, threats of surveillance and monitoring were made against members who investigate our matters,” Mashaba said in a statement on Tuesday.
Given the gravity of these allegations, he said he had to request Ipid’s intervention.
“We cannot allow political interests to interfere in our fight against corruption in the City of Joburg,” said Mashaba.
The complaint had also been forwarded to Police Minister Fikile Mbalula and the Gauteng MEC for Community Safety, Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane.
The allegations of interference, he said, were backed up by the number of cases where investigations were completed but no further action had been taken, while in other cases warrants of arrests have been obtained but not executed.
“We must ensure that those found guilty of corruption are put behind bars and stolen money returned to the people of this city,” Mashaba said.
Since taking office in August last year, the Mashaba administration has initiated several alleged corruption investigations in various departments.
These have led to several arrests.
Hawks spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Netshiunda described the allegations against Ntlemeza as “pure nonsense” and advised Mashaba to “shut up and run the municipality” and allow the Hawks to conduct investigations.
“General Ntlemeza has no reason to interfere in any investigation."
"We have been investigating in so many municipalities and people have been arrested – even in his municipality – and the general was nowhere near those investigations,” Netshiunda said.
“When people are investigating, he does not need to be there and give command because every unit has its commanders – he is the overall commander. So what the mayor is saying has no substance."
"Whatever investigation (is) initiated by the city would not implicate Ntlemeza as he did not dictate how investigations unravelled,” he said.
“When we detect criminal activity, we don’t do witch-hunts. If cases are reported, it’s our mandate to follow them up and arrest if possible.
"We have our own procedures when investigating. The mayor must just shut up and do his job because we investigate and he must run his municipality."
Ipid spokesperson Moses Dlamini confirmed receipt of Mashaba’s complaint.
“The Ipid requested the City of Joburg to provide it with specific details in order for it to assess which of these complaints fall within its mandate and in order to investigate, where it has a mandate,” he said.
Once the requested information had been received and analysed, the directorate would then decide whether to carry out an investigation or not.