Meet the boss of 'new Scorpions'

TOP GUN: Anwar Dramat. 21/05/09. © Unknown.
TOP GUN: Anwar Dramat. 21/05/09. © Unknown.

Anna Majavu

Anna Majavu

Senior Western Cape police officer and former ANC underground operative Anwar Dramat will head the new Directorate for Priority Crimes Investigation unit that replaces the Scorpions on July 1.

Announcing his appointment yesterday, Minister of Police Nathi Mthethwa said 130 of the Scorpions' 221 investigators would join the new unit.

Police spokesperson Panyaza Lesufi also indicated that 27 of the remaining 91 investigators had agreed "in principle" to join the SAPS "pending discussion about working conditions".

Asked if the investigators who investigated ANC president Jacob Zuma's case were included in the new unit, Lesufi said: "We are treating everyone equally, without considering what cases they worked on."

Dramat, 41, is the deputy police commissioner in Western Cape.

Although relatively unknown outside police circles, Western Cape police commissioner Mzwandile Petros said yesterday that this was because Dramat had been such an effective intelligence operative.

"An effective intelligence operative is one who is not there," Petros said, telling the media that Dramat had played a pivotal role in ending taxi violence in the province.

"He was the cop who put [notorious Hard Livings gangster and convicted rapist] Rashied Staggie behind bars."

Dramat was sentenced to 12 years on Robben Island in 1988 for his activities as an Umkhonto weSizwe operative.

His name also emerged in the hearings of the Truth Commission as a torture victim of security police interrogator Captain Jeff Benzien.

Fellow prisoner on the island Justice Minister Jeff Radebe described Dramat at the press briefing as "one of the most successful underground operatives".

Dramat said he was "deeply humbled and honoured" by the appointment.

"There's will be no hiding space for criminals," Dramat said.

Head of the crime, justice and political programme at the Institute for Security Studies Prince Mashele appeared sceptical about Dramat's appointment.

"Anwar is not a high-profile person and very little is known about him."

However, Mashele said Dramat should be given "a chance to prove himself" in his important new post.