The investigating officer who obtained warrants of arrest for The President’s Keepers author Jacques Pauw and News24 investigative journalist Pieter-Louis Myburgh – and the magistrate who signed off on them – are now under investigation for possible misconduct.
This was ordered by Durban magistrate Irfaan Khallil, who presided over an unusual late-afternoon hearing in which the warrants were cancelled and the investigation was handed over to Brigadier Andre Holby, the provincial head of the commercial crime unit and acting provincial head of general investigations.
The Witness on Wednesday exposed what appears to be a “cosy relationship” between the now ex-investigating officer Lieutenant-Colonel Reuben Govender, head of the Durban North cluster, and businessman Roy Moodley, who is accused in Pauw’s book of giving regular cash hand-outs to his friend President Jacob Zuma.
The newspaper listed five cases in which Moodley, or those close to him, were the complainants in criminal matters where Govender, or those who report to him, were the investigating officers and made several arrests without warrants. Civil proceedings are now pending in these cases.
Pauw, in statements to the media, said he was under threat of arrest and named Govender as the investigating officer who was insisting that he attend a meeting at Durban North police station. Pauw had refused to attend without a guarantee that he would not be arrested.
The Witness can now reveal:
• That the complainant in the Pauw matter is Roy Moodley;
• That the charges laid were of fraud, forgery, uttering and crimen injuria (criminal defamation); and
• That while the docket was registered in Durban, a warrant of arrest was authorised by a magistrate in Ntuzuma;
The newspaper has also established that Holby – who is based at Durban Central police station – made an urgent application on Tuesday afternoon to have the warrants cancelled because of “insufficient evidence”.
The matter was heard in open court and was recorded.
Sources have told The Witness that there were concerns that the “stamp” on the warrants was not legitimate.
They said the magistrate could not be contacted because of the late hour.
Khalill ruled that the magistrate did not have jurisdiction to sign the warrants.
Statement ‘too vague, embarrassing’
The sources said that Govender’s statement in support of his application for the warrants was deemed to be “too vague, embarrassing and amounted to conclusions of fact without sufficient averments”.
One source said: “It basically just spoke about the book and the allegations contained in it.”
It was also placed on record that the docket had initially been taken to Durban chief prosecutor Sagren Naidoo, who had raised various queries. These were not attended to before the warrants were authorised by the Ntuzuma magistrate.
The Witness has obtained a copy of the order granted by magistrate Khalill, which dictates that the conduct of the magistrate be referred to his administrative head “to take steps as he deems appropriate”.
He also directed that Govender’s conduct in obtaining the warrants be investigated by the head of detectives in KwaZulu-Natal, General Bala Naidoo. He ordered that a transcript be obtained and copies be sent to those relevant.
Pauw was preparing for an urgent KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Durban application aimed at stopping his arrest when he heard the news about the court order and that he no longer had to report to the police station.
He called it a “vindication for investigative journalists in South Africa and hopefully marks the start of an era of more transparency on the part of the authorities” who should investigate the substance of allegations rather than “shooting the messenger”.