ANALYSIS: Nhleko’s teatime with Mkhwebane: A real Rogue Unit in the making?

ANALYSIS: Nhleko’s teatime with Mkhwebane: A real Rogue Unit in the making? By Marianne Thamm

27.2.2020

ANALYSIS: Nhleko’s teatime with Mkhwebane: A real Rogue Unit in the making? By Marianne Thamm

Before Nathi Nhleko popped up in media headlines after being seen at the offices of the public protector, he approached Daily Maverick to remove a story implicating him in the alleged illegal establishment of a covert military unit that operated outside of SAPS or Crime Intelligence structures.

call from a person claiming to be a member of a 16-person covert “hit squad”. The communication was confirmed by the commission. Commission investigators approached McBride informing him the caller had warned them that IPID “had no business getting involved in their covert activities”. McBride then provided an affidavit to the commission detailing that the unit was a 16-member team, recruited in 2016 from mostly northern KwaZulu-Natal and trained in military combat in the People’s Republic of China. IPID had been investigating the unit and had, said McBride, screeds of evidence. After training, said McBride, the members of the covert unit were trickled back into South Africa’s law enforcement agencies including the Hawks and Crime Intelligence. Members of this unit were recruited by an NGO called Indoni , “a moral regeneration programme targeting the youth” founded by Nhleko’s wife, Dr Nomcebo Mthembu. The unit had been operating covertly, said McBride, until July 2018 and had been reporting to “a specific command structure”. McBride had been due to testify at the Zondo Commission in February 2019 but his appearance was postponed to allow at least 30 high-ranking government officials who had been implicated to respond. Daily Maverick published the story in March 2019, based on the threat to the Zondo commission and on the sworn affidavit McBride had lodged. Before we published we emailed Nhleko and his wife offering both a right to reply. This we did using an email address provided on government websites and contacted Mthembu through her website. Our requests were met with silence. In June 2019, Daily Maverick “Chinese death squad” who had been abandoned. Some of the members said they had been sleeping rough on the streets of Pretoria after no one in SAPS or CI would talk to or employ them. Desperate, they approached the public protector’s office in January 2019 and the office of the inspector-general of intelligence and the Presidency in May 2019 seeking help. Public protector spokesperson Oupa Segalwe confirmed to Daily Maverick that a complaint had been received. “The public protector is still assessing this matter. Whatever she decides after the assessment, she will inform the complaints accordingly.” Recruits we interviewed provided us with photographic and other evidence of training undertaken at the Chinese People’s Armed Forces Academy in Langfang, China between March and May 2016. The squad had also been trained in counter-cybercrime “at the best cybersecurity institution which was in Xiamen”. Nhleko was shuffled out as minister of police in 2017, a departure that sparked the beginning of the end for the “death squad”. “Even when we were in China, the officials that were training us were telling us what an honour it was for them to be training us as we were going to become such an elite squad. So they are very proud to be part of our history as we were being promised very high ranks once we got back home because it was clear that we were going to be in some sort of a coalition with China to help counter crime in South Africa. “The sad part is that once we got back home we didn’t receive a single cent from our government for being deployed overseas and representing our country,” a recruit told Daily Maverick . Nine months after we first published our first story in March 2019, in December 2019, Nhleko suddenly blipped onto our radar. It was the same month Vussy Mahlangu resigned from the public protector’s office. It is not difficult to surmise that this is about the time Nhleko could have thought of applying for a job with the PP. In a letter, Nhleko demanded that Daily Maverick remove the story and threatened to take us to the press ombud. That his complaint has been filed well outside of the deadline and out of the blue is significant. We responded to Nhleko’s complaint by welcoming the fact that he had finally surfaced as we had been looking for him and his wife for some time. While the deadline for him to submit a complaint to the ombud had expired many months ago, Daily Maverick has been informed that this has been extended. We have provided the ombud with our emails sent to Nhleko and Mthembu in March offering a right to reply to McBride’s serious allegations. We welcome a ruling. In the meantime, our investigation is ongoing and we will soon be placing evidence we have obtained before Nhleko and Mtembu as well as those involved in the Civilian Secretariat at the time for their right to reply and explain. A report that fired former deputy head of public prosecutions, Nomgcobo Jiba, who attended Mkhwebane’s recent 50 th birthday bash, had also been spotted at the offices remains unconfirmed… but you never know. This is a developing story. DM Read more: Daily Maverick

DA to provide more evidence in support of motion to remove MkhwebaneBut party’s chief whip Natasha Mazzone’s withdrawal of initial proposal to oust the public protector means a delay in the matter being assessed Mfxim..!

Mkhwebane could cite ‘conflict of interest’ to prevent removal, says RamaphosaThe president’s argument is contained in an affidavit filed in the public protector's court bid to block parliamentary inquiry

Mkhwebane gets some breathing space as bid to oust her starts afreshEmbattled public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has been given a brief respite against her possible removal from office. This is after DA chief whip Natasha Mazzone last week withdrew her motion calling for impeachment proceedings to be instituted against Mkhwebane and submitted a new one to be considered afresh by speaker Thandi Modise.

Mkhwebane’s proposed removal: New motion awaits speaker’s green lightMkhwebane has filed an urgent application in the Western Cape High Court asking for an interdict to halt the parliamentary process. Run Busi Run! Mkhwebane is going nowhere, keep fooling yourselves.

Mkhwebane could cite ‘conflict of interest’ to prevent removal, says RamaphosaThe president’s argument is contained in an affidavit filed in the public protector's court bid to block parliamentary inquiry

DA tables new motion of no confidence against MkhwebaneThe Democratic Alliance (DA) has submitted over 7,000 pages of what it says is supplementary evidence. Not against Pravin? ...and who has confidence in DA? Isn’t it that every 5-yrs they get a new vote of no confidence but think they have a confidence to pass a vote of no confidence in someone who has confidence? If parliament really wants to get away from the lack of integrity that was really cemented during the Zuma years, they will honestly look at her work and the scathing judgements against her. Indeed, she has actually cost that office money through incompetence.



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