SAHRC steps in to protect whistle-blower Thabiso Zulu
Durban - The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has intervened in KwaZulu-Natal whistle-blower Thabiso Zulu’s plight as he seeks state protection following numerous threats on his life for lifting the lid on widespread corruption throughout the province.
During the Moerane Commission looking into political killings in KZN, Zulu gave crucial testimony about the spate of political killings, leading to Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane recommending, in a report, that Zulu be provided with urgent protection.
Human rights watchdog Amnesty International also raised concerns about the lack of protection for Zulu.
On Wednesday SAHRC chief executive officer, Tseliso Thipanyane, confirmed that the commission had “taken up the matter” and was representing Zulu in his quest for state-provided protection.
Thipanyane could not be drawn into the details of their representation of Zulu, saying that the commission would issue a statement in due course.
“Unfortunately we’re dealing with the matter internally,” was all Thipanyane was willing to say when quizzed by Independent Media on Wednesday.
Following his shooting in Pietermaritzburg in October last year, Zulu had written to the SAHRC notifying them of his plight as his prolonged wait for protection from the state continues, despite two state law-enforcement agency threat assessments indicating that his life was indeed under threat and that he needed urgent protection.
He insisted that he had handed over recordings and evidence to the police following the October shooting, detailing the plot to assassinate him.
“The recordings detail the motive of the shooting, the modus operandi, the opportunity and who was the mastermind behind the shooting,” said Zulu. “It’s all there in the recordings, so why is there no arrest since October 26?”
He lamented that he remained unprotected to date despite availing what he refers to as substantial evidence to the police. The Public Protector’s report last year recommended that the SAPS provide Zulu with protection as his life was under imminent danger, but to date Zulu continues to be protected by friends and family.
When contacted for comment on the latest in the investigation into the attempt on Zulu’s life, Police Ministry spokesperson Lirandzu Themba said: “I don’t think the police will be at liberty to disclose information on an ongoing investigation.”
On the issue of Zulu’s protection, Themba said that the matter fell outside the mandate of the police and it was up to the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development.
However, Department of Justice and Constitutional Development spokesperson Chrispin Phiri said that the issue was for the National Prosecuting Authority to look into as “they administer the Witness Protection Act”.
However, when contacted for comment regarding the state of Zulu’s request for state protection, NPA spokesperson Bulelwa Makeke said: “The police are best placed to address this.”