By Sicelo Maziya | 2020-08-01
It’s a game changer! Senate hopeful Sifiso Ndleleni Mabuza has been under the police radar for sometime now, with the police saying the recent raid on his property has nothing to do with the vetting for the vacant Senate seat.
Police Information and Communications Officer Superintendent Phindile Vilakati said they were carrying out ongoing investigations on the Senate candidate for a case they will not publicly disclose because that could jeopardise their case in a court of law.
Supt Vilakati also refused to disclose the stage of their investigation, reiterating that their raid had nothing to do with the vetting process. However, insiders have disclosed that there are about 200 persons of interest in relation to the Prevention of Organised Crime Act operations.
Senate elections were postponed to next Wednesday. This is to allow for the smooth completion of the vetting process for the nominated candidates.
Police, when asked if they were not in contempt of Parliament by continuing with the raids while there was a motion calling for a review of some sections of the law and for the provision of regulations by the Executive, their spokesperson said “as a police organisation our minister is the prime minister, so we are following on written orders which were done through the statement in which government gave mandate to the police to continue enforcing the POCA provisions.”
The elections could not proceed as police sprang into action and were immediately cited as the reason behind the halting of elections. This was after they had informed the Speaker in the House of Assembly Petros Mavimbela that they were not yet done with their vetting process.
Police have distanced their organisation from being a political tool used in the current parliamentary battles that are said to have started on the failed bid to pass the draft cannabis provisional licence regulations.
The Senate bye-election came at the heightened situation where police had started arresting individuals using the now trending law known as POCA.
The alleged threats surfaced after politicians stated that the police were weaponising the POCA against dagga growers in order to seize money and private property owned by rural growers.
Supt. Vilakati said as a police service they were not even by law allowed to be used by certain institutions or individuals but required to work for the public based on the relevant laws of the land.
She said theirs was to enforce the law in a fair and just manner. She disclosed that their raid on one of the Senate hopefuls’ home was just police carrying out their work.
Tensions between farmers and the government escalated recently following a report alleging that the state has seized over E1 million worth of assets and funds belonging to rural dagga grower Bongani Mbuso ‘Highlander’ Dlamini.
Dlamini’s confiscated property reportedly include not only his farm and cash but three cars (including two BMWs), furniture, a treadmill, a microwave, two TV sets, and a freezer.
Media reports were that some farmers want to burn down valuable forests along with sugarcane fields across the country. Yet other farmers are alleged to be harbouring a more traditional approach to challenge government in court.
Parliament sprang to action and called the minister of justice and constitutional affairs to bring the POCA for amendments and regulations for debate through a motion.
The failed cannabis provisional licence presented by the ministry of health to Members of Parliament (MPs) had 13 requirements, most of which focused on the security of the field where the dagga could be grown for both medicinal and manufacturing of products from the plant.
The ministry had said when a person applied for the cannabis licence, there must be provision of stringent security measures which include the installation of devices to ensure restricted access and visual monitoring.
Another requirement included in the draft provisional licence was provision of full-time monitoring of perimeter site by personnel, and also the provision of a storage facility which is to be approved by the agency (regulator) and the police.
The draft also called for the licence holder to provide evidence of expertise in cannabis cultivation and production, and the submission of a police clearance from criminal activities involving narcotic drugs for all the directors and employees of the company.
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