Thembi Nkadimeng (Mayor of Polokwane and sister of the late Nokuthula Simelane) has filed an application in the Pretoria High Court against the Minister of Police, the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) and three policemen charged with Simelani’s murder. Nkadimeng seeks leave to intervene in the application brought by the three accused against the police for payment of their legal defence costs.
The South African Police Service is refusing to pay the legal fees of the accused on the basis that the crimes committed against Simelane did not form part of policing work (in that they fell outside the course and scope of their employment).
The accused deny it was a private frolic of their own and claim the ‘kopdraai’ operation against Simelani was properly authorised. The accused launched a civil case in the Pretoria High Court to compel the police to pay their defence costs.
As a result of the dispute the long delayed criminal case has been postponed yet again to the end of July. Nkadimeng and her family object to another long delay, which is unlikely to be the last postponement.
Nkadimeng seeks to intervene and to compel the proceedings to be held on a semi-urgent basis. She also seeks to join the NDPP as an interested party to the proceedings. In particular, she seeks an order compelling the Minister of Police to pay the reasonable legal costs of the accused.
She does so on the basis that the accused were mere foot soldiers acting at the behest of their superiors, commanders of the former Security Branch and South African Police, as well as the political hierarchy, in particular the former State Security Council. The accused were small cogs in the security machinery at the time. They acted well within in the course and scope of their employment with the Security Branch. This case is made out compellingly in the supporting affidavits of Adv. Dumisa Ntsebeza SC, former Truth and Reconciliation Commissioner and Head of Investigations, and experienced investigator, Frank Dutton.
The failure to proceed against the superiors of the accused and the real decision makers behind Apartheid-era crimes deeply implicates the rule of law.
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