By Chris Steyn
There was high drama last night (Monday night) at the family home of South African Police Service (SAPS) whistleblower Patricia Morgan-Mashale when a man came looking for her. He shouted threats and hurled abuse at her children.
Mashale has been on the move from place to place with 24-hour protection from volunteers, including “good cops”, since 28 February last year (2022) – and is unable to live with her family.
She sent BizNews a video in which the man repeatedly shouts “Fuck you” at her children and threatens: “I will fuck you up…I will fuck you up. Fucking bitch.”
She also shared voice notes her one panicked child had sent to her husband begging him to come home.
Mashale had earlier sent BizNews a photo of an unmarked vehicle – whose driver is believed to work undercover for Crime Intelligence (CI)# “making rounds” past her family home over the weekend.
The man who arrived at the house last night was driving the same car.
“…this police officer went to my house and intimidated my kids. He was looking for me. My kids are traumatised,” she told BizNews.
“So do you think I will ever be safe when my house is under permanent surveillance by Crime Intelligence?
“I am moving around with protection around the clock because I am still not safe yet. I’m not living with my family. I will not be safe while everyone that I exposed is still in the same positions of power.”
Meanwhile, Mashale is still embroiled in a drawn-out legal drama. It began in September last year (2022) when Deputy Provincial Commissioner Major General Solly Lesia opened a criminal case against her and her husband George for alleged breach of a Harassment Order he had obtained against them over WhatsApp messages.
When Mashale duly appeared in court for a remand hearing in November the presiding Magistrate told her she did not need to appear in person if her legal representative was present.
However, after receipt of the transcript, it was discovered that the court record had been tampered with and the relevant pages of the proceedings had been excised: Pages 1 and 2 of the hard copy court record were missing, and only page 3 was in the file.
As a consequence of that, an arrest warrant was issued for Mashale when she did not come out of hiding for the next hearing on 3 March – and even an international Red Alert was put out for her to be tracked down.
It was only when Whistleblower House intervened and provided an experienced lawyer for Mashale that she dared to go to court on 17 August to get the warrant cancelled – but not before she was detained, put in leg irons, and held in a cold locker room after being told she had to report to the police station to have the warrant cancellation processed.
At her next appearance on 30 October, the power was off, and when it remained off after several hours, the case was postponed until 20 November.
Mashale duly turned up, but found herself alone in court: the case was not on the court roll, and no prosecutor was there to hear the case. The complainant, General Lesia, was not present at this or the previous hearing, and nor were any witnesses. Bizarrely, she found herself wandering the court building looking for her accuser and somebody to prosecute her.
Her case was postponed until 22 January next year (2024).
Meanwhile, informal court gossip is that charges are to be withdrawn but that staff are too scared to do so.
Veteran police- and violence monitor Mary de Haas charges: “The fact that the case had not even been placed on the court roll suggests that court staff are deliberately defeating the ends of justice.”
De Haas wrote to The Director of Public Prosecutions, Free State Province, and The National Director of Public Prosecutions, to urge an independent inquiry with regards to the treatment of Mashale.
“Given the number of malicious charges brought in this court there appears to be either a lack of proper prosecutorial oversight, or collusion between prosecutors and corrupt police members (unfortunately this is not confined to the Free State, and it is a matter of grave concern). From conversations I have had with court officers and local lawyers, it seems that the politics of (Former Premier Ace) Magashule’s Gangster State’ may have left an indelible mark on this court, where there appears to be a climate of fear extending to court officials who perform their jobs professionally. As mentioned in yesterday’s letter, informal conversations suggest that the case against Mashale should be withdrawn, but no one wants to take responsibility for doing it.”
She added: “I want to stress that, quite apart from the impact that this apparently deliberate delaying of justice is having on Ms Mashale’s health, it is also a further threat to her life. There is little substance in the charges brought against her and, if she is assassinated – and she also fears for her life every time it is known she will be in court – SAPS management and the prosecutors who pursued this case will be saved from losing face, and they will be held responsible…”
In its response to Professor De Haas, the Director of Public Prosecutions wrote: “Your representations and concerns raised in the two emails are noted.
“Miss Mashale is legally represented in the criminal proceedings and her legal representative, Mr (Johan) Kramer, would need to attend to or raise any issues pertaining to the matter either in court and/or in terms of the applicable legal procedures and processes.”
Among those protecting Mashale are police officers, including Warrant Officer Pannas Maasdorp from Counter Intelligence (CI). “He has been with me even when they charged him departmentally for protecting me.”
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