SA Justice Minister calls for probe into Zim ‘renditions’ report

South Africa’s Justice Minister has called for an investigation into reports that the country’s priority crimes unit and the police are involved in an illegal ‘renditions’ deal with Zimbabwe.

Minister Jeff Radebe is reportedly on a “collision course” with his colleague, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa, after demanding answers over the report. Radebe told South Africa’s Sunday Times newspaper that the rendition claims were “very worrying,” especially considering the allegations “were levelled not only against organs of state, but one that is responsible for law enforcement and security.”

Mthethwa on the other hand dismissed the claims, made in a report by the Sunday Times late last month. The report accuses the priority crimes unity, the Hawks and senior police officials of being part of a renditions deal with their Zimbabwean counterparts. The Sunday Times reported that this deal has resulted in a number of Zimbabwean ‘suspects’ being killed, after they were picked up in South Africa and illegally transferred to Zimbabwean authorities.

The newspaper also reported that Police Minister Mthethwa is sitting on explosive reports, listing at least three deaths allegedly as the result of a ‘renditions’ operation led by officers reporting to Hawks boss Anwa Dramat and Gauteng police commissioner Lieutenant-General Mzwandile Petros. But Mthethwa told the Sunday Times last week that “there is nothing in front of (me)” to warrant an investigation. He said the claims of rendition involving the Hawks were “baseless and imaginative.”

The Sunday Times said it has evidence that Zimbabwean Witness Ndeya, who was suspected of shooting a policeman in his country, was “renditioned” by the Hawks and then murdered, apparently by Zimbabwean police. The newspaper has also quoted one Gift Nhadzi, a former MDC organiser, who detailed how he was arrested by members of the South Africa police, who then handed him over to Zimbabwean police officers in plain clothes. He was then tortured in front of villagers.

“While they were torturing me they said: ‘This is how a sell-out and a terrorist is treated’,” he said. “My wife was four months pregnant. They said they wanted to skin her alive because there is a sellout in her womb.”

Nhadzi reportedly said that after begging for mercy, they beat her belly, and she then suffered a miscarriage. Nhadzi has since fled back to South Africa. – SW Radio Africa

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