Hawks boss tries to cut deal with police


JOHANNESBURG — Hawks boss Anwa Dramat has offered to cut a deal with Police minister Nathi Nhleko, whose decision to suspend him has sent shockwaves through the elite crime-fighting unit.

In a letter to Nhleko seen by Sunday Times reporters, Dramat offered to go on early retirement on condition that his suspension was lifted “without me having to approach the court to do so”.

He gave Nhleko until January 5 to respond. Dramat said in the letter that he had made powerful enemies by investigating “very influential persons” who wanted to “remove me from my position”.

“I’m also aware that in the next two months there will be a drive to remove certain investigations that fell under my ‘watch’, reallocate certain cases, and that, unfortunately, certain sensitive investigations may even be closed down,” he said.

A source close to the matter said police commissioner Riah Phiyega asked Dramat earlier this month to hand over Hawks files on matters such as Nkandla; a R60 million fraud case in KwaZulu-Natal and an investigation involving Northern Cape ANC chairman John Block, among others.

“Dramat refused . . . to hand over the Hawks files and dockets to Phiyega,” the source said.

This could not be verified independently and Lieutenant-General Solomon Makgale, spokesman for Phiyega, did not respond to written questions or telephone calls.

In his letter to Nhleko, Dramat said: “I have recently called for certain case dockets involving very influential persons to be brought, or alternatively centralised, under one investigating arm and this has clearly caused massive resentment towards me.”

The suspended Hawks boss said he had to decide whether to continue “trying to operate within the system . . . to effect meaningful change by investigating and rooting out corruption, which has reached . . . epic proportions”.

“I can unequivocally point out that I’m not willing to compromise the principles that I have always believed in. I’m not willing to be ‘agreeable’ or ‘compliant’ insofar as I would then be acting contrary to my own moral principles and, also, contrary to the position in which I was appointed,” Dramat wrote.

Nhleko suspended Dramat last Tuesday after receiving a report based on an investigation by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) into his alleged role in the rendition of Zimbabweans to their home country.

In his letter Dramat said the probe had been “badly conducted by the investigator of Ipid and the spurious allegations were made to tarnish my reputation”.

The Ipid report was sent to the National Prosecuting Authority earlier this year. Dramat’s suspension came hot on the heels of Phiyega’s attempt to fire KwaZulu-Natal Hawks boss Major-General Johan Booysen earlier this month.

Booysen, who won a court interdict against his dismissal, also claimed he had been targeted because he was involved in politically sensitive investigations.

But Nhleko has failed to suspend Gauteng Hawks boss Major-General Shadrack Sibiya and Hawks Colonel Leslie “Cowboy” Maluleke, even though Ipid found evidence that both were involved in the renditions.

“The minister does not deem it necessary at this point to put anyone on suspension other than the head of (the Hawks),” Nhleko’s spokesman, Musa Zondi, said. “The probe will be conducted by a team the minister will announce soon.”

In his suspension letter, Nhleko told Dramat he regarded the allegations against him as “very serious”.

— Times Live.