Cape Town - The National Prosecuting Authority has withdrawn charges against former Hawks head Anwa Dramat related to the illegal rendition of Zimbabwean suspects, the Daily Maverick reported on Monday.
On Tuesday morning NPA spokesperson Phindi Louw confirmed this to IOL
"Yes, the case has been withdrawn. The defence team made representations to the NPA and we were satisfied with the submissions," said Louw.
The charges against Dramat were laid in 2016 and stems from allegations that while was head of the Hawks he, Gauteng Hawks head Shadrack Sibiya and top cop Captain Lesley Maluleke unlawfully handed Zimbabwean fugitives over to police from that country after arresting them in 2010. Some of the suspects handed over to Zimbabwean authorities later died.
The charges led to the suspension of Dramat and Sibiya, as well as Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) head Robert McBride.
In an interview in 2015, Maluleke said Dramat and Sibiya had nothing to do with the deportation. “It was my own initiative. I was never instructed to kidnap or arrest anyone and send them to Zimbabwe to be killed. I had to deport them because they were illegal immigrants.”
He said, however, he had informed them about the progress of the operation.
Dramat later resigned after a long-running legal battle over his suspension which was ultimately found to have been unlawful after claiming he was being targeted over certain high-profile cases on which he was working.
The rendition matter was investigated by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate, which produced a draft report recommending prosecution and a final report that cleared Dramat and Sibiya.
However, then police minister Nathi Nhleko commissioned a probe by a law firm, which recommended the two be charged along with McBride who, the firm said, had doctored the initial report to protect Dramat.
The Constitutional Court later ruled that Nhleko’s suspension of McBride was invalid and was as a result set aside.