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Mbalula questions Makhosi Khoza's conduct after death threats

20 July 2017 - 14:41 By Timeslive
Police Minister Fikile Mbalula. File photo.
Police Minister Fikile Mbalula. File photo.
Image: Times Media/Sowetan

Police Minister Fikile Mbalula has lashed out at fellow African National Congress MP Makhosi Khoza‚ accusing her of ducking himself and investigators.

This week Parliament said that it would‚ together with police‚ provide protection to Khoza‚ after she had been receiving threats for some time. Last week‚ the outspoken critic of President Jacob Zuma showed journalists messages that her daughter had also been received threatening her life.

This comes at a time of heightened political tensions. Other prominent people who have been victims of intimidation recently include the SA Communist Party’s Solly Mapaila and former SA Social Security Agency CEO Thokozani Magwaza. A commission is currently inquiring into political assassinations in KwaZulu-Natal.

Khoza on Wednesday accused Mbalula of fuelling the situation because of his "suicide bomber" comments about her endorsement of a secret ballot in the motion of no confidence against President Zuma that is due to come before Parliament.

On Thursday‚ Mbalula said in a statement he took the security of elected public representatives and ordinary people as a very serious matter.

“Our democracy‚ though stable‚ still experiences typical challenges that most former oppressed states go through – heightened lawlessness and violence amongst the communities. The proliferation of guns from either statutory or non-statutory forces become one of the hard issues to grapple with. Our porous borders are also not assisting us. As Minister I connect these to the scourge of politically motivated assassinations and violence in KwaZulu-Natal in particular – a matter I am seized with.

“Honourable Khoza’s security threats are therefore serious. This democracy could evaporate in seconds if elected political leaders are constantly harassed‚ threatened or killed.

“Our mandate in this regard is therefore to be seen in two; that is the protection of all persons and the protection of our democracy itself."

Mbalula said he had managed the risk to Khoza at an operational level‚ out of the public glare.

"Her matter was immediately transferred to a Commissioned Officer because of its seriousness. An assessment on her security was conducted and this assessment was constantly looked at whilst the criminal threats to her life were investigated.

"She was not 'left alone'‚ even if she didn’t know about it.

"As far as threats to her girl child‚ SAPS investigated this and found that there was no threat at all. This matter was closed."

However‚ Mbalula accused her of not assisting police in doing their job.

"SAPS also requires that Honourable Khoza avails herself to the investigating officer who continues to battle to get her to a meeting. Honourable Khoza's house has also been visited unannounced after SAPS’ frustration with her unavailability to meet them.

"My office’s calls to Honourable Khoza and even those from myself directly have not yielded the result we had hoped for‚ as it is at this time she refuses to engage with us directly but through Facebook‚" he charged.

"...It is time for all concerned to pull together and co-operate professionally."

Mbalula said her protection would be ensured - even without her permission.

"If needs be‚ should Honourable Khoza refuse our overtures and open hand‚ we shall look at other ways of assisting her without her involvement should it come to that‚" he stated.

Commenting on his criticism of Khoza for her support of a secret ballot on the vote on a motion of no confidence against President Zuma‚ the ANC NEC member said he stood by his view that she was defying "her party’s strategic political decision over the question of dissolving this current administration in a vote of no confidence".

This would‚ nevertheless‚ not influence him in his determination to ensure her safety.

"The decisions relating to who defies who or what does not enter in the question of law and order where an individual’s life is under physical threat.

"Political disagreements must never lead to harm and loss of life or injury.

"It also goes without saying that a party member who openly decides to defy party instructions or constitution or rules‚ such a person destroys their party career‚ they themselves kill such a career. I used the phrase‚ 'suicide bombing her ANC career' in this strict context.

"I assure South Africans that no matter your race‚ creed‚ religion or social strata‚ where there exist a real threat to life‚ SAPS will treat the matter very seriously. No political disagreements enter the space of SAPS operations."

Khoza‚ in her Facebook statement - which was directed at Mbalula - described an inept police response to the threats against her and rejected Mbalula's insistence that she was stymieing efforts to help her. She said Mbalula had attempted to reach her on 18/07/2017 for the first time "since my nightmares started".

"The crime intelligence did my security assessment more than two months ago after the death threats. Two cases were opened in Limpopo in March 2017 and the other in Hillcrest in April 2017. The SAPS and Parliament failed to provide my protection. Instead the ANC Chief Whip's office accused me of extreme-ill discipline.

". . . The Minister himself (Mbalula) fuelled the threats. He also joined those who wanted to eliminate me and have me dismissed or expelled from the ANC for choosing to uphold not just the RSA constitution but that of the ANC."

Said Khoza: "My only sin is defending the ANC mission and not amoral leadership‚ which is heading the ANC to extinction.

"Instead of receiving assurance for protection the Minister of Police referred ANC MPs like myself suicide bombers and threatened them with expulsion should they vote in favour of a no confidence vote on the President. To me this explained why the death threats on my life and family were never taken seriously by the SAPS.

"When threats escalated to my children and I was given 21 days to live‚ I posted the threats on my Facebook wall. I lost faith in SAPS and Parliament."

"I chose not to die in silence."

She thanked the media for trying to identify the sources of the threats against her.

"...Truth be told‚ had I relied on your department‚ those behind my death threats would not have been uncovered‚" she told Mbalula.

"I would have joined the endless list of assassinated ANC comrades whose cases have not been solved to this day. Police had failed in months to ascertain this fact‚ if at all they ever tried.

"Notwithstanding these facts the Minister's office continued to lie in public about being in contact with me. It was the first time on 18/07/2017 that the Minister and Parliament tried to reach me.

"The strangest thing is a miraculous case number I received yesterday (Tuesday). I never opened a case yesterday.

"Last week a junior investigator handling my case in Hillcrest police station .... told me he had no capacity of handling my case ... He has been trying his best without support and necessary experience‚" said Khoza.

Since the ANCYL EThekwini region published her home address on social media‚ she said‚ "I have literally become an exile within my own country".

"....I never imagined that the ANC would reach this level of paralysis and contamination."