'Scorpions targeted Free State ANC leader'

Anna Majavu

Anna Majavu

The Scorpions have downplayed allegations that one of their Free State top brass instructed junior staff members to find enough "incriminating evidence" to arrest an ANC leader and take him out of the race for the party's top provincial position.

City Press newspaper reported yesterday that Free State Scorpions head Shadrack Sibiya had allegedly instructed junior investigators to find enough incriminating evidence about Free State ANC chairman Ace Magashule, pictured, so that he could arrest him (Magashule) before the provincial conference in July.

Instead, the staff sent a 10-page memorandum to National Prosecuting Authority investigations director Thanda Mngwengwe complaining about Sibiya's instruction.

But NPA spokesman Tlali Tlali said: "Our preliminary investigation shows that these allegations are without substance.

"Members of staff from the Bloemfontein office did send a communique to head office where they raised concerns about the professional conduct of members of the management of the Scorpions.

"A separate unit of the NPA is now investigating the allegations. We only got the memo a month or two ago," he said.

He said Sibiya would keep his position as Scorpions head while he is under investigation.

"There are no grounds to suspend anyone at the moment," said Tlali.

ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe told Sowetanyesterday: "We have been saying that the Scorpions have positioned themselves to persecute leaders of the ANC but nobody listened to us.

"There is nothing new about this. We believe they are targeting many more ANC leaders than just Magashule."

But the DA's Dianne Kohler-Barnard, who campaigned in parliament for the Scorpions to be retained, says the memorandum does not show that the Scorpions are guilty of any political meddling they have often been accused of.

Magashule, who is tipped to be the next Free State premier, was elected unopposed as chairman of the province in July.