22 Jan 2015 19:30pm
PRESIDENCY CAN'T HIDE TRUTH BEHIND DRAMAT: ZILLE The presidency cannot hide the truth behind the suspension of Hawks boss Anwa Dramat, Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille said on Thursday. "The presidency has neglected to mention two key points in their attempt to spin the Police Minister’s suspension of Hawks boss Anwa Dramat," she said in a statement. "If there is nothing to hide then the Ipid [Independent Police Investigative Directorate] report on Zimbabwe renditions must be released. This report is central to the suspension of Dramat and should be in the public domain." On Monday the High Court in Pretoria heard an application by the Helen Suzman Foundation for Nhleko's decision to suspend Dramat to be set aside. Judgment was reserved. On December 23, Dramat was suspended, apparently pending a probe into his alleged involvement in the illegal rendition of four Zimbabweans in November 2010. Zille said on Thursday that Ipid boss Robert McBride had confirmed the Ipid report into the Zimbabwe renditions had cleared Dramat, and went even further to suggest there was a plan to set Dramat up. Ipid was unavailable for comment. Zille said the DA demanded that the Ipid report be tabled in Parliament and said the presidency should agree that if there was nothing to hide then the secrecy around this report should be ended. "If there was nothing to hide why would the police minister take the extraordinary step of suspending Dramat, in direct contravention of a Constitutional Court judgment delivered in November?" Zille asked. "The judgment clearly states that the police minister has no power to suspend the head of the Hawks. "We believe with good reason that minister Nhleko took this patently unlawful step to get rid of the Hawks boss because Dramat had asked for the file on the Nkandla corruption charges." Zille said Dramat was doing his job by requesting the file for the upgrades into President Jacob Zuma's Nkandla residence, in KwaZulu-Natal. Police ministry spokesman Musa Zondi said Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko did what he thought was correct when he suspended Dramat. "The leader of the opposition is politicking and it is within her right. If she was talking about facts, then it will be a different story," he said. "It is difficult to comment on someone politicking. The minister had done what the thought was correct and if he was incorrect the courts would decide on that." He said Nhleko would meet with the portfolio committee next week. In November, in a separate case dealing with the Hawks's independence from the national executive, the Constitutional Court deleted a section of legislation dealing with the process through which the head of the Hawks could be suspended. Criticising the "untrammelled power" given to the police minister, instead the court ruled that the police minister could only suspend the head once a parliamentary committee had conducted an investigation -- an action that was not taken in the case of Dramat. Presidency spokesman Mac Maharaj was not immediately available for comment. On Wednesday, the presidency said Zille's comments that Dramat was suspended because he investigated high-level corruption were mischievous and irresponsible. The presidency said it wished to raise a serious concern about continued utterances by Zille. However, Zille told Sapa that all the "evidence" pointed to the fact that Dramat was sidelined because of his investigation into corruption. In her weekly newsletter, Zille said available information seemed to suggest that Dramat was suspended because he investigated high-level corruption. She reached this conclusion using the "duck test" -- "If something looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it is probably a duck," she said. She conceded, however, that "this is a very complex case" and she questioned the timing of Dramat's suspension, given that her party understood the Ipid probe clearing him was concluded nine months previously. Sapa /dm/ks/lp