Justice Zondo’s younger brother’s name pops up at state capture commission of inquiry

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JOHANNESBURG, April 11 – Former Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) head Robert McBride’s evidence at the state capture commission of inquiry could implicate commission chairman Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo’s younger brother, Advocate Mxolisi Zondo, and create a possible conflict of interest, the commission heard on Thursday.

McBride’s testimony will shed light on the alleged capture of law enforcement and justice cluster. He will also outline his opinion on the conduct of the younger Zondo, who chaired the former IPID boss’s disciplinary hearing.

Evidence leader Paul Pretorius raised concern over a possible conflict of interest for the deputy chief justice, adding that Mxolisi was sent a notice by the commission’s legal team.

Pretorius said: ”Mr Mxolisi Zondo replied to the commission and said ‘whatever McBride or any other witness may say about me should be considered in light of the official record’.”

Mxolisi indicated he will not cross-examine McBride or make any submissions to the commission.

Mxolisi also chaired a hearing against former Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) boss Shadrack Sibiya on the unlawful rendition of Zimbabweans in 2015.

Mxolisi found that Sibiya failed to prevent the rendition of Zimbabwean nationals. Several people were suspended as the probe continued. They included McBride, who was suspended by former police minister Nathi Nhleko who accused him of misleading the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) for allegedly altering his original rendition reports implicating Sibiya and Sibiya’s former boss Anwa Dramat.

IPID’s head of investigations Matthew Sesoko signed off a report exonerating Sibiya and Dramat from any wrongdoing in the probe. Sesoko was fired, and then reinstated in 2016 after charges against him were withdrawn.

Justice Zondo ruled that he would hear McBride’s evidence for now and decide later, after consultations, on how the Mxolisi matter should be treated. Zondo’s options are to recuse himself from hearing McBride’s whole evidence or that concerns evidence on Mxolisi, or not recuse himself at all.

Pretorius gave background on the justice cluster and law enforcement in the country, and how all the institutions are linked in the execution of duties. He said the commission will also investigate why the law enforcement agency the Scorpions were done away with even though official statistics showed that the elite crime-busting unit had high rates of arrests and successful prosecutions. The Scorpions were disbanded in 2009 when former president Jacob Zuma was at the helm, and replaced by the Hawks.

Pretorius said instances of suspected unjustified withdrawal of cases involving politically-connected people and the alleged abuse of public funds in law enforcement, including for safe houses, will be examined.

The IPID is an independent police watchdog and has oversight over the South African Police Service (SAPS) and metro police departments. It conducts investigations into criminal offences committed by members of the police and makes recommendations. (ANA)