Whistle-blower and former ANC Youth League Harry Gwala region secretary Thabiso Zulu testifies at the Moerane Commission last year. Picture: Sibonelo Ngcobo/African News Agency (ANA)
Whistle-blower and former ANC Youth League Harry Gwala region secretary Thabiso Zulu testifies at the Moerane Commission last year. Picture: Sibonelo Ngcobo/African News Agency (ANA)

Cele to oppose court action forcing SAPS to protect whistle-blower Thabiso Zulu

By Bongani Hans Time of article published Mar 22, 2020

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Cape Town - Police Minister Bheki Cele has put his foot down, saying he would be opposing a court action to force the SAPS to provide protection for whistle-blower Thabiso Zulu who had survived an assassination attempt for exposing alleged corruption.

Acting on behalf of Zulu, the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) approached the North Gauteng High Court in an attempt to force Cele to provide state-paid protection for Zulu, who survived his gunshot wounds, while he was hiding in Pietermaritzburg in October last year.

“I can confirm that the minister will be opposing the legal action in reference. So with this matter now in the court roll, we are not at liberty to elaborate,” said Cele’s acting spokesperson Brigadier Mathapelo Peters.

Cele had also approached the court seeking to review Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s recommendation that the state provide protection to Zulu and fellow anti-corruption activist Les Stuta.

Both men had previously testified before the Moerane Commission of Inquiry into the killing of politicians in the province.

Mkhwebane’s spokesperson, Oupa Segalwe, said the review matter would be heard on June 3 in the same court.

Peters refused to say why Cele was insisting on opposing the SAHRC and Mkhwebane.

“As indicated in our earlier response, we wish not to be drawn into deliberating on this matter in the public domain, particularly through the media, until the impending court process is concluded,” said Peters.

SAHRC chief executive advocate Tseliso Thipanyane said the commission had turned to the court after it found no joy when it raised Zulu’s concern with government authorities.

In the fight against alleged corrupt activities in Umzimkhulu Municipality and Harry Gwala District Municipality, Zulu and Stuta worked with proportional representation councillor Sindiso Magaqa, a former ANC Youth League secretary-general, who was shot and later died in hospital in 2017.

Magaqa’s murder was linked to him exposing alleged shady dealings in the refurbishment of Umzimkhulu Memorial Hall, the cost of which escalated from the initial R4 million to R16m, but the work remained incomplete five years later.

Mkhwebane had found that Cele had conducted himself “improperly” to deny Zulu and Stuta protection.

Corruption Watch’s executive director David Lewis said Cele’s move came as a surprise since Zulu’s matter was “very well-known”.

“Government really needs to walk the talk where whistle-blowers are concerned as whistle-blowers are vital to tackle corruption.

“You need to protect them, although I know that they (government) cannot give armed security to every whistle-blower, but in the region where Zulu is blowing the whistle, he really has a case (for asking) for security,” said Lewis.

He said Zulu deserved protection since he had exposed politically- connected corruption by those who had captured the municipality.

“The SAHRC has found that he should be supplied with security and I don’t know whether Cele is right in opposing (the SAHRC court action).”

Political Bureau

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