File picture

Johannesburg - The South African Communist Party (SACP) in KZN says it wants the Independent Police Investigations Directorate (Ipid) to investigate an emerging pattern that the police are being used to settle political scores by arresting certain politicians and later withdrawing the charges.

In a statement issued after a provincial working committee meeting over the weekend, the party’s provincial secretary Themba Mthembu on Monday said withdrawal of charges against Newcastle Mayor, Dr Ntuthuko Mahlaba, is fueling the perception and something must be done. 

He also spoke about the charges against Mluleki Ndobe, the former mayor of Harry Gwala district municipality who is now the KZN legislature deputy speaker. 

Mahlaba who is also the regional chairperson of eMalahleni was facing a murder charge over the 2016 killing of Wandile Ngobeni, an ANC youth leader in the same region.

However, the charges were withdrawn last week Thursday when it emerged that the state was only left with one witness who could to help it to secure a conviction. Four others told the court that they were forced by investigators to implicate Mahlaba while the sixth one, Martin Sithole was shot dead early this year. 

Mahlaba has already indicated that he wants to sue the state for malicious arrest as his good name was tarnished. 

Drawing an inference from that, Mthembu said they want an investigation into the use of law enforcement agencies to settle political scores.

“The SACP believes that some elements within the law enforcement agencies are being used by certain individuals to harass their political opponents. The SACP has appealed to Police Minister Bheki Cele and National Commissioner to investigate these issues. 

“The SACP will also approach the Independent Police Investigations Directorate (IPID) and other relevant Chapter 9 institutions such as the office of the Public Protector and Human Rights Commission to investigate these matters,” Mthembu said. 

He further reminded the nation that in 2017 a similar incident happened when SACP Umzimkhulu district secretary, Nhlanhla Zungu was detained for a lengthy period apparently because he was not carrying his gun license – even after giving them details of his licence. 

Charges against him were later withdrawn.

“A number of comrades have been arrested in this fashion only to have charges against them withdrawn after being humiliated and embarrassed by the police. Not long ago an ANC Provincial Executive Committee member, Comrade Mluleki Ndobe, was also arrested purportedly for his role in the murder of Sindiso Magaqa and a few days later charges against him were withdrawn. The SACP is concerned and deeply suspicious of these arrests and is calling for law enforcement agencies to refrain from being used by politicians to settle political scores.”

Political Bureau