Zondo Commission lawyers dispute claims by former police minister Nathi Nhleko
The Zondo Commission's legal team has disputed complaints by former police minister Nkosinathi Nhleko that he was kept in the dark about the testimony which implicated him before the inquiry since last year.
Nhleko was on Monday on the stand as he addressed some of the allegations against him, including improper suspension of top cops and the firing of former Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) boss Robert McBride.
Nhleko's lawyer William Mokhari said while he was relieved that he finally had the opportunity to defend himself from the allegations levelled against him, he was concerned that the commission has not treated him fairly regarding the allegations that were made against him by witnesses before the commission.
“He watched McBride testify on television without having received McBride’s affidavit which ought to have been given to him in terms of Rule 3.3 of the commission’s rules. He, on the second day of McBride’s testimony, instructed an attorney Mr (Eric) Mabuza to come to the commission and inform it that he watched McBride testifying and mentioning his name without being favoured with anything which suggested that he was going to say those things,” Mokhari said.
According to Mokhari, Nhleko was also not notified before the national head of investigations Matthews Sesoko and IPID investigator Innocent Kuba took the stand and led evidence that implicated him.
He said Nhleko had to also threaten legal action against the commission for him to be assured that he would be given a date to testify and defend himself before the end of June.
“Indeed he was given the date which was the 14th of May. When he was hearing nothing from the commission, his lawyer had to write to the commission on the 11th of May to enquire if everything was in order for him to testify on the 14th, only for his attorneys to be told just two days before the 14th when he was already in Johannesburg having conducted preparations with his legal team that there would be no hearings and that he would be told as to when he would come,” he said.
The commission’s evidence leader advocate Garth Hulley however disputed Nhleko’s claims and insisted that the commission had sent notices to him before McBride testified last year.
“According to the records that I have received, it appears that McBride testified on the 11th and 12th of April as well as the 15th and 16th of April. According to the records that are here, it appears that a notice dated the 8th of April would have been sent to Mr Nhleko,” Hulley said.
He said the commission had also sent Nhleko notices much earlier before Sesoko and Kuba testified and implicated him.
“According to what I have here, Mr Sesoko would have testified on the 25th of September 2019 and it seems the notice was sent out on the 10th of September. According to the schedule I have got, there was a receipt which was confirmed on the very same day. In relation to Mr Kuba, the notice was sent on the 11th of September and I understand that he testified on the 26th of September,” he said.
Hulley said the change of dates in Nhleko’s scheduled testimony was due to difficulties that were caused by the imposed national lockdown.