Durban – Moerane Commission witness Thabiso Zulu lashed out at one of KwaZulu-Natal’s top cops on Thursday while the man was sitting less than three metres away from him.
Testifying for the second day during the commission – tasked with investigating political violence in the province – Zulu said that the commission had made a mistake by involving Brigadier Clifford Marion in its proceedings.
Marion is head of detectives in the province - he sits in on the commission and is responsible for the safety of witnesses.
Zulu is a former secretary general of the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) in the Harry Gwala region. The area has been rocked by five political killings this year, the most high profile being former ANCYL secretary general, Sindiso Magaqa.
“It was a mistake for the commission to take Marion to be part of this commission. In some of the cases referred to [while testifying], the buck stopped with Marion. Marion is the head of detectives, provincial detectives are responsible to him,” Zulu said.
Zulu made the statement after telling commissioners of a political killing in Richard Bay in 2016 to illustrate the slow pace of police investigations. He was assisting the family of the man who was killed in what was thought to be a politically motivated murder.
He said that he had found Marion to be “useful” in other police matters, but not when it came to political killings.
Zulu said he had been in contact with Richards Bay police but they had been “useless”. He then escalated the matter, but also found Marion to be slow to react, even though Zulu had told the brigadier that he had a potential witness who could assist in the investigation.
“I am trying to demonstrate that we had a potential witness here and the police took a month to get back to me. There must be urgency, these people are not doing us a favour, they get paid. When we give them information we expect them to act,” he said.
When evidence leader advocate Bheki Manyathi asked Zulu to clarify that he had previously interacted with Marion and found his work to be satisfactory, Zulu said that was true, but he was not going to romanticise what has happening in the province.
“I lost a friend, Magaqa, I am not going to be romantic when dealing with these issues. The very same thing that happened with these cases [before the commission] may happen to me. I am here representing people who may be killed,” he said.
Zulu was expected to continue his testimony and was set to reveal more details on Magaqa's murder.