'I want answers'
JUSTICE Minister Jeff Radebe is demanding answers on the Hawks' conduct on illegal "renditions" of people from South Africa to Zimbabwe.
And, in a move that puts him on a collision course with cabinet colleague and Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa, Radebe said the renditions "fly in the face of our (SA) constitution and its values".
Radebe's comments follow an exposé in our sister newspaper Sunday Times on how top investigators from the elite crime-fighting unit were fingered in several Zimbabweans being delivered to their deaths in Zimbabwe.
Radebe is demanding answers from the justice cluster to "map a way forward".
Radebe said the rendition claims were "very worrying", especially considering that the allegations "were levelled not only against organs of the state, but one that is responsible for law enforcement and security".
This week more cases surfaced, in which the Hawks and members of the SA National Defence Force were accused of arresting people and handing them over to Zimbabwean police, who either murdered or tortured them.
The actions flout the Immigration Act and breach a government moratorium on deportations to Zimbabwe, as well as the UN Convention Against Torture, which South Africa ratified in 1998.
Radebe's comments are different from those of Mthethwa, who on Friday told Sunday Times "there is nothing in front of (me) to warrant an investigation".
He said the claims of rendition involving the Hawks were "baseless and imaginative".
This is despite a paper trail, published by Sunday Times, confirming that a number of individuals were arrested as "illegal immigrants" by the Hawks and handed over to Zimbabwean police.
The Hawks boss Anwar Dramat confirmed then that they had "deported" three individuals - Witness Ndeya, Gordon Dube and Pritchard Tshuma - but said this was done "properly".
Ndeya died of "multiple gunshot wounds" on November 20 - two weeks after his arrest in South Africa - while in police custody in Bulawayo, according to his death certificate. Tshuma and Dube are believed to have met a similar fate.
Now more details of other cases have emerged. In one, John Nyoni (33) was arrested on January 26 by the Hawks and deported. In another case, Gift Nhadzi - a former organiser of the Movement for Democratic Change - detailed how he was arrested by members of the SANDF, who then handed him over to Zimbabwean police. He was then tortured in front of villagers.
"While they were torturing me they said: 'This is how a sellout and a terrorist is treated'," he said. "My wife was four months pregnant. They said they wanted to skin her alive because there is a sellout in her womb."
Nhadzi said after begging for mercy, they kicked her in the belly, and she miscarried. Nhadzi has since fled back to SA.