A lawyer, Mr James Ndebele, counsel to a senior South African Police officer who was suspended for falsifying recruitment list, has warned the South African Police Service to beware because the treatment meted out to his client meant the SAPS is factionalised.
Though Ndebele’s client, Brigadier Vuyokazi Ndebele – no relation – has been reinstated her lawyer believes the “false accusations or witch-hunt” against her were “a clear indication of the factionalism within the SAPS”.
Ndebele, a Benoni cluster commander, was suspended in August 2014 and criminally charged with alleged fraud relating to the recruitment of entry-level SAPS candidates in the Moroka policing cluster.
She was accused of “changing the recommended list of recruits” to include candidates who had not met the SAPS’s minimum specifications.
But Lawyer Ndebele faulted the timing of the accusations, describing them as suspicious, because my client had “applied for a promotion to general, and that her unblemished record meant the increase in rank was all but secured.”
In letters to the South Gauteng Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to have the charges withdrawn, the lawyer said the charges “made no sense” and were based on a statement filled with contradictions.
Key evidence against the brigadier was the statement by Captain Johannes Mokheseng that indicated she had insisted on adding the name of a particular applicant to the list of new recruits. Relying on the marks provided by the panel for the recruit, with Ndebele providing the lowest score on the panel, the lawyer countered:
“It is highly improbable and reasonably doubtful that our client would have allocated the lowest score and yet advise Mokheseng that (he) had ‘scored excellent’,” read James’s arguments to the DPP.
James said Ndebele had never been given the opportunity to provide a written statement regarding the allegations against her and had been inappropriately arrested.
Responding the lawyer’s letter the DPP Andrew Chauke, in a letter dated January 14, announced his decision to withdraw all charges against the brigadier, but that the case of fraud and related charges would go ahead against Mokheseng.
While the brigadier was unable to comment on the situation without permission from her superiors, her lawyer said the case showed “a propensity of factionalism and witch-hunts in the SAPS”.
James added that Ndebele had not been informed on when she could return to work.
National police spokesman Lieutenant-General Solomon Makgale told a different story.
“Our understanding is that the charges have been withdrawn due to the fact that the prosecution wants to use Brigadier Ndebele as a witness,” Makgale said.
“We conducted a thorough investigation, the outcome of which enabled us to obtain a warrant of arrest. This means there are questions Brigadier Ndebele must answer,” he added.