FEARS FOR THE SAFETY OF ADVOCATE DAN TEFFO AND SUSPENDED SAPS MEMBER PATRICIA MASHALE

Yesterday, 13 December, a press conference, ‘From State Capture to a Police State : The Application of Human Rights precepts to the Emergence of a Return to a Police State in South Africa’ was held in Pretoria.   This initiative came from Advocate Dan Teffo, who was maliciously arrested and imprisoned twice in November because of his work for justice.  He stressed its urgency days before it was held, adding ‘before I disappear’.  Advocate Teffo was today served with a warrant of arrest, and there are unconfirmed reports that a warrant has been issued for another speaker yesterday, Patricial Mashale, who has been suspended following disciplinary charges against her for blowing the whistle on gross corruption in the Free State SAPS.  Details of the charges are not known, but they are believed to arise from yesterday’s media conference.

On 1 November Advocate Teffo was arrested at his Johannesburg home around 04h00, and, dressed in his pyjamas, taken to Johannesburg prison (‘Sun City’). There he was sentenced, on 2 November, and without appearing in court, for Contempt of Court. He then had no knowledge of any such case against him.  He was arrested by three police members, two of whom were white members he believed were apartheid era security policemen (names known). He surmised that after they had left the SAPS they had been re-enlisted, as details he procured showed their appointment date as 16 August 2021. He avers that the signature on appointment cards is not that of National Commissioner Sitole.  He was released from prison ten days later and, when he tried to check on these mysterious police members, he was told they had already resigned.  He was arrested, again, on 16 November, apparently on a Trespass charge, when he entered the Gauteng SAPS headquarters with a client.  Much of Teffo’s work is in the Labour court for police members victimized because they are not part of the corrupt management cabal, battling to get them reinstated when he wins disciplinary cases.  He appeared in court on 19 November, but the bail application could not be heard as he had previously lodged a complaint against the magistrate to whom it had been allocated. When he re-appeared in another court on Monday 22 November there was no docket, and the investigator (apparently acting on instructions –  Teffo thinks those of the Gauteng provincial commissioner) again delayed on the pretext of verifying his residential address. When an incomplete docket appeared in court on 24 November, even the magistrate appeared confused and granted bail.

Teffo believed these arrests were carried out on the orders of the Minister of Police – who refers to him as a ‘troublesome advocate’ – and were primarily linked to very sensitive cases he has taken on which could have serious implications for the minister and management members. One of those cases is the murder, in 2014, of prominent soccer star, Senzo Meyiwa, in which he was approached to hold a watching brief for the deceased’s family, which was the primary focus of the press conference.  The deceased’s brother, Sifiso, provided details to back up Teffo’s argument about how this case had been deliberately sabotaged to protect well-connected killers, and bring false charges against people who had nothing to do with his brother’s murder.  Two good detectives who had cracked the case were removed and another team, reporting to Minister Cele, had taken over and charged five suspects, some of whom are serving prison terms for other crimes.  A sister of one of these men, who also spoke, gave very detailed information about how her own investigations could prove that the men now standing trial are innocent. Of particular concern in Teffo’s input was that it pointed to complicity at high level in the prosecutorial service in what seems to be a gross miscarriage of justice.

At the media conference Patricia Mashale spoke of severe harassment, and malicious charges brought against her, for her anti-corruption work.  She gave chilling information about the extent of criminal corruption in the Free State firearms unit.  She is already severely stressed, and fears for her life, due to SAPS management harassment. Police seized her personal phone, and her car was followed for a long distance by unmarked vehicles with police members in them, who lost interest when they realized she was not in the vehicle.

Proceedings yesterday, and the arrests of an advocate and an SAPS whistleblower, confirm the capture of the SAPS.  However, the man responsible is not the National Commissioner, a mere pawn, but the Minister of Police who was dishonourably discharged as National Commissioner in 2012, following a disastrous tenure in which brutality and all manner of corruption and irregularity escalated. According to media reports, this minister takes his advice from a police general from a notorious apartheid unit, and from a convicted apartheid era drug dealer policeman, who, together with his family, works for Crime Intelligence in KZN. It was Cele to whom the then national  SAPS Crime Intelligence head Jacobs handed a counter-intelligence report in 2019 detailing how apartheid-era security police were running a political hit squad in KZN, and were fueling violent protest such as truck burning on national roads. Minister Cele reportedly failed to take any remedial action, decreeing that the report be kept secret. He also, irregularly, controls a ministerial team investigating political hits in KZN, his own political colleagues being among potential suspects.  This team specializes in malicious arrests and abusing and torturing suspects. He also controls, through his surrogate, The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID), because Parliament has still not passed legislation ordered by the Constitutional Court five years ago to give IPID independence from the police ministry.

The lives of Advocate Teffo and Patricia Mashale – and possibly others with insights into the Senzo Meyiwa case – may be in very grave danger, as South Africa slides, increasingly, into an apartheid-era police state. Teffo has provided the President with details of police corruption, but no action has ensued. The President had assured corruption-fighter Thabiso Zulu, another victim of the same police and their tactics, of protection, but has been overruled by his Minister of Police.  Surely questions should be asked about who exactly is running South Africa – and taking the country further along the road to an apartheid-type police state?  See also ‘The Return of Apartheid Policing threatens the lives of whistleblowers’

  See also ‘The Return of Apartheid Policing threatens the lives of whistleblowers’