Municipalities Establishing Unlawful Investigative Units Worsens SA’s Organised Crime Problem

GOOD statement by Brett Herron,
GOOD: Secretary-General & Member of Parliament

14 July 2022

Much as many South Africans have lost faith in state crime-fighting and intelligence agencies to reduce incidence of crime, and are desperate for solutions, municipalities establishing unlawful parallel agencies are not going to solve anything.

Such units will more likely worsen the country’s organised crime problem by providing an extra layer of loopholes for crime bosses to exploit.

Organised crime is destroying communities and overwhelming our anti-crime resources precisely because criminals are often well connected to rogue police officers who are paid to subvert investigations and tamper with dockets.

Many countries around the world are shifting away from strictly centralised policing models and devolving certain powers to cities. But for city governments to assume policing and intelligence functions in order to address organised crime is highly unusual.

As the law in South Africa presently stands, municipal units that conduct criminal investigations into organised crime, and conduct intelligence or counter-intelligence operations, are doing so unlawfully. That’s according to both the Ministers of Justice and Police.

Yet such units exist in Johannesburg and Cape Town, led by individuals of questionable integrity.

In the City of Johannesburg, a recent report on the activities of the Group Forensic and Investigation Services Unit implicated the unit’s former head, General Shadrack Sibiya, in the establishment of illegal in-house capabilities and the flouting of procurement processes. The report accuses Mr Sibiya of irregularly spending R8 million on the procurement of unvetted intelligence gathering equipment for use in the city’s internal anti-corruption unit.

The report found that Sibiya set up these functions without authorisation from the Minister in the Presidency responsible for State Security, Mondli Gungubele, and that Mayor Dr Mpho Phalatse allegedly subverted incriminating evidence implicating Mr Sibiya.

In the City of Cape Town, the head of the SIU or SSIU unit, Reynold Talmakkies, is presently facing charges of docket tampering while a member of the police in Mpumalanga and, separately, charges of fraud and corruption relating to a Cape Town housing tender. In a bizarre twist, the City is paying for Talmkakkies’ legal defence despite his effectively being accused of stealing from it.

The GOOD Party has long argued that rogue policing and illegal intelligence units are dangerous and undermine the fight against organised crime by creating a grey environment in which crime can flourish.

We call on the relevant ministers to intervene urgently, and to explain to South Africans why these units were allowed to be established, and continue acting outside of the law.

At the same time, we call on the Ministers responsible for Justice, Policing, State Security and Co-Operative Governance to begin the necessary legislative processes to legitimately devolve appropriate policing functions to municipalities.

Media Enquiries:

Brett Herron, GOOD: Secretary-General & Member of Parliament
Cell: 0825183264

Janke Tolmay, GOOD: Media Manager
Cell: 0733671223