Demand that Hawks boss explain surveillance on whistleblower’s family home

Hawks boss Lieutenant-General Godfrey Lebeya has been asked to investigate and explain surveillance on the family home of South African Police Service (SAPS) whistleblower Patricia Morgan-Mashale. The demand came in a letter from veteran police- and violence monitor Mary De Haas, who is also an Honorary Research Fellow at the Faculty of Law at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN). De Haas says Morgan-Mashale went into hiding last year because she feared “death at the hands of SAPS members following reporting alleged corruption” to former National Commissioner Khehla Sitole. BizNews asked General Lebeya for comment.

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By Chris Steyn

Hawks boss Lieutenant-General Godfrey Lebeya has been asked to investigate and explain surveillance on the family home of South African Police Service (SAPS) whistleblower Patricia Morgan-Mashale.

The demand came in a letter from veteran police- and violence monitor Mary De Haas, who is also an Honorary Research Fellow at the Faculty of Law at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN).

De Haas says Morgan-Mashale went into hiding last year because she feared “death at the hands of SAPS members following reporting alleged corruption” to former National Commissioner Khehla Sitole.

Read more: I will not die silent – SAPS whistleblower in hiding

In her letter to General Lebeya, dated 22 August 2023, De Haas wrote: 

“As is now common knowledge, senior SAPS clerical staff member Patricia Mashale has been in hiding, away from her family home in Bloemfontein, since the end of February 2022. She had credible information that she would be arrested on a malicious charge, ‘disappear’, and probably be killed, following her having sent then National Commissioner Sitole a dossier, at his request, on alleged corruption implicating senior Free State SAPS members.  Since then, there have been various attempts by SAPS members, or people used by them, to extract information about her whereabouts.  Her brother, who refused to divulge information, narrowly missed being hit when shot at on his way home early last year.

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“Husband George Mashale and their children have reported the presence of strange cars around their home since early last year.  Most of these cars apparently do not have registration number plates, but display the type of certificate which one sees on newly acquired cars while registration is being processed.  The Mashale children have suffered greatly, fearing their movements being watched, fearing even to bring friends to their home lest they endanger them. That the home is under surveillance was confirmed on 5/6 November 2022.  Ms Mashale went to the home during the day to attend to her unwell eleven year old son.  By the time he fell asleep it was late at night and her son-in-law left the home with her to drive her to her hiding place.  Soon after they left the family home his car was followed by a black double-cab vehicle, confirming that her presence at the home was known. A chase across Bloemfontein ensued until the Mashale son-in-law finally lost their pursuers in a maze of township streets, and they spent the night in his car in an out of the way garage, daring not to return to the family home or her hiding place.

Read more: How bad cops go after good cops

“The types of cars seen around their home vary and, as indicated, it has been impossible to check on registration as they do not have number plates.  However, on 16 August 2023, a day before Ms Mashale was due to appear in the Bloemfontein magistrate’s court on a charge brought by Deputy Provincial Commissioner Lesia, a White BMW, known to be driven by local members of the Hawks, was seen around the Mashale home – driving past, turning around, and returning to check on the house.  According to Mr Mashale, the name of the member who usually drives it is known but it seems it was another member driving it on Thursday last week.  The registration number of this white BMW is BVK227FS, registered to the Hawks.

“Kindly investigate and provide us with a detailed report about why a vehicle used by the Hawks in Bloemfontein was seen circling the Mashale home on 16 August 2023.”

BizNews wrote to General Lebeya to ask for him comment on Professor de Haas’ letter and received this email from his office:

“Receipt of your message is hereby acknowledged. This office received the letter that was addressed to this office. We are corresponding with the author thereof.”

This story will be updated as BizNews receives new information.

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