2006-09-15 : Police inspector threatened after ANC arrest

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2006-09-15 : Police inspector threatened after ANC arrest

Postby GOSA » Mon, 2006-09-18 08:28

Police inspector threatened after ANC official's arrest

A Pretoria police inspector, who has received death threats since arresting an African National Congress (ANC) ward official from Mamelodi in August, says she will continue her investigation despite the constant harassment.

"It's all about politics," Inspector Louise Claasen told the Mail & Guardian Online. "I will carry on the investigation."

Claasen first started receiving threats after the arrest of Daniel Sizwe Mthetwa, the local councillor for Ward 17 in Mamelodi East near Pretoria.

Mthetwa, along with nine other accused, was arrested and charged with fraud for illegally selling state-owned property stands, up to the value of R17 000, according Claasen, who is the chief investigating officer on the case.

"I received phone calls to say I must stop the investigation," Claasen said.

"They said there is a hit-list and I am on it ... they also threatened one of the community leaders that they will shoot him."

Mthetwa was arrested and charged on August 31 and his bail application hearing took place on Thursday at the Mamelodi Magistrate's Court.

Bail application hearings for the other nine accused took place on Monday and Wednesday, and most were successful. The investigation into this matter started in February this year, and Claasen took over in April.

"They [the accused] were using government documents and forged letters to open accounts," Claasen said. "They didn't follow the process of allocations of stands."

The stands in question are located in low-cost areas around Pretoria, including Atteridgeville, Soshanguve, Lotus Gardens and Mamelodi. People wanting stands are required to follow an application process, and pay a small amount towards water and electricity fees.

The accused are alleged to have sold previously allocated stands to other people at an average of R15 000 per stand, excluding water and electricity costs. "So far about 180 stands have been investigated," said Claasen, which amounts to around "R250 000 to R300 000".

Most of the accused were arrested before August, but Claasen said "the intimidation started right after Sizwe [Mthetwa] was arrested". Others in the community have also been harassed, and a case of intimidation against Mthetwa's brother has since been opened, she said.

The other accused include two state representatives, Ray Kwena Molekoa and Cornelius Peta, who were both employed by the Tshwane municipality's department of finance at the time of their arrests.

A source at the Tshwane municipality confirmed that Molekoa, Peta and Mthetwa are still employed by the municipality, Molekoa as an administration officer and Peta as chief accountant in the finance department.

Claasen told M&G Online that "Mrs Mamonare [general manager at the finance department] told me they would not start disciplinary hearings until they [Molekoa and Peta] get bail".

Mamonare declined to respond to the M&G Online in this regard.

Despite numerous requests for information, representatives from the municipality were not available for comment.

But Blanco Mabaso, the ANC's regional secretary for Tshwane, said that because the charges are "still allegations at this point", it is acceptable that the accused are still under the municipality's employ.

"If there is anyone charged with any form of corruption, they should be brought to book and taken to court," Mabaso said. "But what is important is that all of them should be assumed innocent until they are found not so."

"If they are found guilty, we expect the municipality to take action," he said.

"They [the municipality] don't want to cooperate," Claasen said. "It puts the municipality in a very bad light; I don't think they need this.

"It's raising question marks, why don't they want to cooperate ... they are supposed to be helping but they are making it harder for me," she added.

Claasen said that some officials at the department of housing are currently under police scrutiny. She has been given until November 24 this year to wrap up her investigation, and says "there are more arrests to come".
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