Johannesburg - A Joburg prosecutor is living in fear after receiving a series of death threats suspected to be from a Bangladeshi mafia member baying for her blood over a case she was handling.
The case involved one of the associates of the Bangladeshis, Iqbal Hossein.
Speaking exclusively to The Star from her secret hideout, Rose Malatsi, a regional court control prosecutor at the Boksburg Magistrate’s Court, narrated her six-month-long ordeal.
“I had to flee my home in January. Since then my house has been burgled and my car sprayed with death threat messages,” said Malatsi, who has been employed by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) for the past 10 years.
One of the threatening notes, which The Star has seen, reads: “Leave our brother, take him off (sic) jail or we will kill you.”
The second note, which was placed at the back of her house, reads: “Leave our brother, take him off jail, we know where you stay.”
It was at this point that Malatsi decided to flee her home and take refuge at a friend's house.
“Once, I arrived home to find that my house had been broken into and my curtains set on fire,” she said.
Malatsi has reported the attacks to the Brakpan police station (case number 184/02/17).
Gauteng police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Lungelo Dlamini said: “Note that police give feedback to the victim(s) of crimes regarding the registered cases and progress of the investigation.”
Malatsi accuses her immediate supervisor, South Gauteng Director of Public Prosecutions Andrew Chauke, and NPA boss Shaun Abrahams of failing to protect her, despite her alerting them about the threats to her life.
“Both Abrahams and Chauke know about my plight but have done nothing tangible. These people are out there and I fear that they want me dead,” she said.
Both Abrahams and Chauke said they were aware of the case and referred The Star to NPA spokesperson Luvuyo Mfaku.
Mfaku said: “It is incorrect to assert that the NDPP (National Director of Public Prosecutions) has not done anything in respect of the matter. The head of administration in the office of the national director, after having considered the matter, advised Ms Malatsi in writing about the outcome of the investigation. The head of security in the office of the national director and SAPS members conducted threat assessment investigations and advised Ms Malatsi of the outcome.
“There was no legal basis to oppose bail. The matter was, however, struck off the roll on May 23 after the court refused a further request for a postponement due to outstanding and incomplete investigations.”
Malatsi insists that despite the case being struck off, the victimisation hasn't stopped.
She said her ordeal started in January when two Bangladeshi nationals came into her office, accompanied by a police officer, to request advice on a protection order against one of their own, who they accused of stealing a lump sum of money and intimidation.
The name of the police officer is known to The Star, but is being withheld for legal reasons.
Malatsi said: “I immediately ordered the police officer to open a docket and arrest the alleged thief. He was arrested the following day, and I endorsed in court that the accused should not receive bail because he is a flight risk."
“After receiving a phone call from the attorney of the accused discussing the case, the series of death threats then followed.”
On February 11, Malatsi discovered listening devices in her car and immediately phoned a vehicle tracking company to investigate. The company tracked her car to Heidelberg, but it was in Pretoria.
The case has attracted the attention of forensic investigator Paul O’Sullivan, who she enlisted to help her, as well as DA member of Parliament Glynnis Breytenbach.
O’Sullivan sent an email to Abrahams asking them to intervene and protect her. Mfaku said Abrahams has delegated a senior official to handle the matter.