'It's a whitewash': Whistleblower slams report on political killings
Moerane findings are 'weak and vague' and don't reveal anything new, he tells Times Select
Whistle-blower Thabiso Zulu, who was a close friend of slain ANC Youth League secretary-general Sindiso Magaqa, has described the Moerane Commission of Inquiry’s report into political killings in KwaZulu-Natal as a “whitewash, weak and vague”.
Zulu told Times Select after the release of the report by KZN premier Willies Mchunu in the provincial legislature in Pietermaritzburg on Thursday, that the report did not offer anything new in its recommendations.
“The report is a whitewash and does not get to the bottom of why people are killed. It’s weak and vague and does not offer anything new from what we already know. It’s recommendations are vague and are not very far from what I already knew,” he said.
The controversial 240-odd page report made broad recommendations including the urgent investigation of politicians, public officials and business people associated with corrupt activities in the public service.
The commission also recommends that an inter-ministerial task force set up by President Cyril Ramaphosa to look into the political killings, immediately review the workings of the security agencies and the police.
It recommends that political parties must:
• Take responsibility for the violent competition between their members for political positions and power;
• Immediately settle differences within and between themselves through peaceful means using negotiation, mediation and other consensus-building techniques to avoid the continuing murder of politicians and public officials;
• Discipline their members whose conduct encourages or results in political intolerance and violence, where they are involved in or accomplices to killings they must report to the relevant law enforcement authorities.
Zulu said he had expected the commission to recommend that all security companies ensure firearms given to security guards were legal and that people who carried them had permission to do so.
“We are aware that the majority of people who kill people are bodyguards by day and hitmen at night. What is also important is to check that people who are in security companies are registered with the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSIRA) because these companies use security guards as bodyguards, which are two separate things,” said Zulu.
He said the Moerane report should have recommended that PSIRA, in conjunction with state security and crime intelligence, should be vetting security guards. The commission, he said, should have focused on big tenders since dirty money used to hire hitmen comes from them.
“The financial intelligence should raise red flags on suspicious transactions because these monies are withdrawn in cash and used to pay hitmen. I was hoping the commission would also touch on that, but it did not,” said Zulu.
Zulu, who testified before the Moerane commission, blew the whistle on alleged corruption in the Umzimkhulu local municipality after he had been given documents by Magaqa before he was killed.
The alleged corruption involved a municipal tender that ballooned from R4m to R37m, which he claimed was behind Magaqa’s murder.
The documents Magaqa passed on before his murder allegedly proved corruption to the Hawks concerning the tender for upgrading the Umzimkhulu Memorial Hall.
Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane is finalising her report on the alleged corruption.
Last month, Zulu threatened to go to court to demand protection after a threat assessment found that his life was in danger.
He walked out of the official handover of the Moerane commission’s report to Mchunu in June after saying he had not been provided transcripts of his own testimony.
A threat assessment by the State Security Agency stated that an agency team looking into the matter had found that Zulu and another whistle-blower, Les Stuta, were being followed and that they were at risk.
The assessment found that the two “urgently require protection from the state” and should be provided “individual private protection”.
Mkhwebane agreed that the threat to Zulu’s life must be assessed and that the police must provide protection for him and Stuta.
Her office wrote to Police Minister Bheki Cele in June, requesting that the recommendations be acted upon, but nothing was done.