130709. Cape Town. Suspended CPF Chairperson Hanif Loonat says he will continue to fight the war against crime. Picture Henk Kruger/Cape Argus

Cape Town - Suspended provincial community police forum chairman Hanif Loonat alleges that, instead of giving him a fair chance to defend himself, police have tapped his phones.

“I know what it sounds like when a line is tapped. I’m convinced that my every conversation is being listened in on, but I don’t care because I have nothing to hide.

“Everything I have said, I am willing to say in public,” Loonat said at a press conference on Thursday.

Loonat again struck out at high-ranking police officers who he claims are targeting him because of his no-nonsense approach to exposing corruption in police ranks.

In July, provincial police commissioner Lieutenant-General Arno Lamoer approved a letter telling Loonat of his suspension for “alleged misconduct” pertaining to statements made to the media earlier this year.

In one instance, Loonat reportedly said there was wide-scale bribery of police by gangsters in Cape Town; in the other he slammed the Athlone police for “poor service delivery”.

Subsequently he said he had been misquoted about police-gangster corruption, but stuck to his criticism of the Athlone police station.

Loonat’s lawyer, Michael Bagraim, has apparently sent various requests to the office of Lamoer - asking for charges and documents pertaining to the case against Loonat.

Without these documents, Bagraim says, there can be no meaningful investigation.

Lamoer has not commented to the media on the suspension, saying that Loonat is still subject to an “internal investigation”.

“What investigation?” asked Bagraim. “There can only be an investigation if Mr Loonat’s defence and version of events are included and available to investigators.

“We have asked time and again, but we are yet to receive the charges or any documents. Nor has Loonat been approached by any investigator. We are in the dark.”

On Thursday Loonat repeated his opinion that a personal vendetta, one which deputy provincial police commissioner Major-General Peter Jacobs had against him, was behind his suspension.

Loonat admits to circulating an e-mail questioning Jacobs’s integrity after the latter failed to sign a document which would have seen an extension of term for the position of CPF provincial chairman. This, Loonat said, infuriated Jacobs. Loonat says that he has severed all ties with “corrupt elements” in the police’s top brass. However, he refuses to resign as CPF chairman before he is “vindicated”. To this end he welcomes a “full investigation” and the opportunity to state his case.

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Cape Argus