Thulani Gqirana, News24
Cape Town – A police officer committed suicide by shooting himself in the head, twice, and the Hawks and SAPS were engaged in a war over confiscated drugs, police watchdog IPID told MPs on Wednesday.
These were among the “appalling” issues that came to light during the IPID’s investigation of a murder-suicide involving a Hawks and a SAPS officer, chief of investigations, Matthews Sesoko, told Parliament’s police committee.
Hawks Warrant Officer Colbern Mashego was shot dead in November 2016, when he pulled over two police officers in Boksburg, who were driving to OR Tambo International Airport, allegedly with a bag full of drugs.
The Independent Police Investigative Directorate was briefing MPs on some of its high-profile cases, which included torture, deaths in custody, and the killing of officers.
Sesoko said when IPID officers arrived at the Boksburg crime scene several hours later, there were already senior SAPS and Hawks members present.
“Even though it is alleged that the other officer killed the DPCI [Hawks] officer and killed himself, what we find odd is that the officer shot himself twice. He shot himself below the chin and then in the side of the head.
“We find that very odd. How is it possible that a person commits suicide and shoots himself twice like that?” he told the committee.
Their investigation revealed that SAPS and the Hawks were competing for possession of drugs confiscated at OR Tambo International Airport.
“It would appear that there is a war as to who will get the drugs first,” Sesoko said.
There seemed to be holes in the investigation of drug smuggling at the airport.
“Drug mules who bring the drugs into the country are never arrested. Only the drugs are taken and once the drugs are taken, there is an issue of the value of the drugs that is actually accounted for,” Sesoko said.
Some of the drugs were not weighed at the airport and there were discrepancies between the quantities of drugs confiscated and what actually made it to evidence.
Some of the drugs came through international arrivals, but SAPS would move them to domestic arrivals without first following proper processes.
“We recently went to view footage at OR Tambo, and it is appalling to see what members of SAPS and DPCI get up to in dealing with drugs,” he said.
All this had emerged during the investigation into the deaths of the two officers.
“This is an ongoing investigation and we are getting information from sources about what is going on there. We hope to break the case in the near future.”