Until Thursday 2 April 2019, Colonel Navin Madhoe had been regularly clocking in at his SAPS office despite being fingered for playing a lead role in enabling about R61m in alleged corrupt deals linked to Zuma-connected KwaZulu-Natal businessman Thoshan Panday, as well as various other senior SAPS officials and prosecutors in the region and beyond.
For more than eight years, since 2011, SAPS Colonel Navin Madhoe ducked and dived the coils of justice. An interdict here, a legal bogging down there, an indifferent leadership to top it all. That way you surf under the radar, keep your head down, keep doing what you are doing.
Until Thursday, that is, when Johan Booysen, former KZN Head of the Hawks, whose persecution and costly legal fightback was sparked, in part, by Madhoe’s corrupt relationship with Panday, alerted the Zondo Commission to Madhoe’s current circumstances in the SAPS.
In spite of lever-arch files full of evidence, Madhoe, along with Panday, escaped being charged when then newly appointed KZN NPA head, Moipoine Noko, set them free as birds in 2012, withdrawing charges of corruption related to R60-million in fraudulent 2010 procurements.
Not only did Noko refuse to provide a rational explanation for her decision, she also chose to hang on to the docket, refusing to return it to the Hawks.
Madhoe had also been caught placing R1.4 million in cash in the boot of Booysen’s car in a police sting during which he attempted to bribe Booysen to tamper with Panday’s investigation.
It was this act that later led to Booysen’s illegal arrest and suspension and years- worth of illegal persecution by those who repurposed state resources to serve and further the aims of their own corruption and the corruption of others.
On Thursday Booysen said:
“The problem that I have is that Colonel Navin Madhoe is sitting in the same position dealing with the same matters and it has been brought to my attention by a senior person in finances that some of these irregular activities after my departure still continued.”
Madhoe presently finds himself at SAPS provincial supply chain management, that teat of a division that pumps taxpayer’s money into the hungry SAPS procurement hole.
Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo was quick to respond and rain on Madhoe’s parade, instructing the commission’s legal team, through the acting secretary, “to bring the matter of Colonel Madhoe’s continued employment at SAPS in the same position he occupied when he was accused of grand-scale corruption to the attention of SAPS National Commissioner (Khehla Sitole).”
And, Booysen added, while Madhoe might have succeeded in stalling the investigation into the R1.4-million bribe, there was no restriction with regard to reopening the Panday/Madhoe R60-Million Great 2010 World Cup Rip Off.
Daily Maverick emails to SAPS inquiring what the response would be to Deputy Justice Zondo’s call for action to be taken on Madhoe had not been responded to at the time of writing.
What Zondo did on Thursday, however, was ram a cracker up the fundaments of all those in top SAPS leadership who have been supine in applying the law to those in their ranks accused of criminality and corruption. And the list is long and depressing.
Earlier, Booysen told the commission that it was the provincial head of support services in KZN who was ultimately responsible for ensuring Madhoe did not occupy the same position in the SAPS that he abused earlier.
And while National Commissioner Sitole might not have known of Madhoe’s return, said Booysen, “provincial management is blissfully aware and the fact that he (Madhoe) is in the same post, that they did not even think to put him in another department.”
At the start of his testimony after a week’s break, Booysen told the commission that he had been alerted in 2018 by a Colonel Myburgh about Colonel Madhoe’s ongoing abuse of his rank and office.
“Last year I was phoned by a Colonel Myburgh who had also reported corruption emanating from Colonel Madhoe’s office. Instead of investigating, they were going to charge the whistleblower, Myburgh,” said Booysen.
Booysen said he flew to Durban to meet then acting Divisional Commissioner, General Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi, who “stopped that process”.
Madhoe is not the only law enforcement official who faces a disciplinary on serious charges and who has returned to work.
On 29 April, the Hawks confirmed that Major-General Zinhle Mnonopi, who had attempted to derail a case initiated by Mcebisi Jonas against the Guptas for offering him a R600-million bribe to become minister of finance, was back at work. This despite pending disciplinary action.
Hawks spokesperson Hangwani Mulaudzi told TimesLive that: “(The disciplinary hearing) is not concluded. She was suspended and according to our regulations, everything should have been finalised within 60 calendar days. Unfortunately, all the processes were not finalised and hence the upliftment. She is at work, but still facing an internal disciplinary process.”
Suspending Mnonopi in September 2018, Hawks head General Godfrey Lebeya, after Jonas had testified at the Zondo Commission, said that an investigation had found “enough evidence to warrant the Major-General’s suspension”.
Mnonopi’s co-accused, her husband Captain Thembani Mnonopi, and two other Hawks officers, Captain Mydarling Ndaba and Warrant Officer Zandile Shabane, have been served with notices of suspensions while their criminal matter is ongoing. The trio is expected to appear at the Alexandra Magistrate’s Court on May 27 2019.
At the start of Thursday’s proceedings, Mnonopi’s legal representative introduced himself to the commission.
On Thursday, Booysen also set out to the commission how former National Commissioner Riah Phiyega had worked actively to get him out of the SAPS, making him three offers — to stay at home on special leave, take a transfer or finally, a golden handshake.
This after advocate Nazeer Cassim, who had chaired Booysen’s disciplinary hearing in 2014, had exonerated the KZN Hawks head. Phiyega had informed Booysen at the time that she would be taking Cassim’s findings on review.
Booysen had called then Hawks head Anwa Dramat to inform him he would be returning to work. Dramat had agreed with Booysen’s decision, but informed him that Phiyega had, in the meantime, summoned him (Booysen) to SAPS headquarters in Pretoria.
It was at that meeting, said Booysen, that Phiyega had given him the three options to exit the SAPS and his unblemished career. “So if you had gone for that option (three-year payout) the country would have paid you for three years for staying at home when you could have been working?” asked Zondo.
“Worse, than that, at that stage I was already sitting at home for three years. If I had taken it the taxpayers would have paid for me sitting at home for five years,” Booysen replied.
“And besides that, they would have had to appoint someone else and pay them as well,” Zondo mused.
At the meeting, Phiyega had given Booysen a month to think about the options she had presented. Later Phiyega and a brigadier from finance services had met Booysen, seeking to get him to sign the papers for a “golden handshake”, which he declined.
Booysen told Phiyega he would not accept any of her inducements to leave.
“So if I give you a lawful instruction to transfer, you will not obey?” Booysen said Phiyega had asked him.
“I said ‘I will take you to court’ ” Booysen told Zondo, adding that he told Phiyega he would return to his office the following day.
Booysen said he then left the room, but could hear Phiyega through the walls.
“Let us just say it was not a pleasant meeting,” said Booysen.
Booysen said that he had a month later attempted to convene a round table including Phiyega, Provincial Commissioner Lieutenant-General Mmamonnye Ngobeni (implicated in the Panday matter) as well as Dramat, but which “turned into a debacle, to say the least”.
By the time Booysen was due to retire in July 2017, he had been suspended three times, arrested, jailed, charged, exonerated and had had enough. He had fought countless court battles at great financial and personal cost.
“At that point in time, I had been approached by the private sector and I was sitting at home doing nothing. I was due to retire in July 2017 and the matter (his suspension by Ntlemeza) was set down for March 2017. I know how the courts work. It would have dragged on to May, June which in effect meant I would go back to work and fill in my retirement papers. I told them that if they were prepared to release me, I am prepared to go,” said Booysen.
Booysen left in February 2017.
“Some in the SAPS were happy to get rid of me,” he said. Meanwhile, Colonel Navin Madhoe was clocking in at work, every day, as nothing had happened. DM