Picture: Phill Magakoe

PARLIAMENT - An investigation into an alleged conspiracy to defraud the SA Police Service crime intelligence unit to pay for votes during the ANC elective conference in December has stalled, a police watchdog spokesman said on Friday.

Speaking on the sidelines of a briefing to Parliament's portfolio committee on police, Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) spokesman Moses Dlamini said they're waiting for national police commissioner Khehla Sitole to approve a request of the declassification of documents related to the probe.

"We have approached him to ask for declassification of certain documentation and information. We are still waiting for that to happen. Once that happens, that will give us more informaton...," said Dlamini. 

"Basically, the investigation has stalled, based on the declassification issue that has not been solved."

In February, Ipid said it was probing a case of fraud and corruption in the amount of approximately R45 million related to the buying of votes for the ANC conference. 

It is alleged a plan was concocted to procure a grabber [communication interception device], which the watchdog believes "normally costs between R7 million and R10 million".

Dlamini said the investigation is being conducted in collaboration with the Inspector-General of intelligence, adding Sitole was dutybound to hand over information related to their investigation.

"He is required by law to cooperate with the investigation...when sufficient time has passed, we will consider how to move on with the investigation if we don't get this documentation declassified."

On Wednesday, Sitole told the police committee he was not aware that he was under investigation by Ipid after footage emerged of a meeting between a supplier, a ministerial advisor, Sitole and other senior officials on December 13 last year.

Dlamini confirmed this.

"At this stage we haven't identified any specific suspects," said Dlamini.

In the meeting with MPs on Friday, Ipid head Robert McBride described police corruption as the biggest threat to national security, bemoaning the fact that there were very little consequences for rogue police officers.

"To be quite honest here, police protect each other. They function like a gang. We call it the blue curtain because what goes on behind the blue curtain is beyond us...and you will see as more and more of these cases emerge...you will see the extent racketeering is the way things are done," said McBride. 

"For many years, at least post 1994, the corruption has not been detected. No one looked at it. The counter-intelligence division of crime intelligence was unable to pick it up."

The will to identify corruption is not there in the leadership of SAPS..."

African News Agency/ANA