Former head of the Hawks in KwaZulu-Natal, Johan Booysen, has called for a probe into the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), in the wake of the Sunday Times' admission on Sunday that three of its major investigations were based on lies.
The Sunday Times announced over the weekend that it would be returning the awards and prize money received for its coverage of the SARS "rogue unit", the Cato Manor "death squads" and the Zimbabwean renditions stories.
Booysen was accused by the Sunday Times of being at the head of a "rogue" unit at the Cato Manor police department in Durban, which was involved in the extra-judicial killings.
Along with 27 other members of the unit, Booysen was arrested in 2012 and, while the charges against him were dropped, they were reinstated at a later stage, and the case has been in and out of court for years. Last week, the case was postponed for a year.
In a live video interview with News24 on Monday, Booysen said he had been invited to give evidence at the Zondo commission on state capture and would do so.
He said a "total clean-up" of the NPA was needed if the country was going to recover from state capture and the fallout from the Sunday Times debacle. Booysen claimed that suspended Deputy National Director of Public Prosecutions Nomgcobo Jiba was still running the NPA from behind the scenes, adding that "persecutors", rather than "prosecutors", were being used for political ends.
"I don't think Shaun Abrahams was ever the head of the NPA... Jiba was the de facto head of the NPA. And as we speak, I know they are still busy concocting stories and trying to compromise me, but I'm ready for them," he said.
"I still engage with a lot of prosecutors... Jiba is still running the show from behind the scenes with her little cabal...
"I hope that an appointment will be made [for a new national director of public prosecutions] so that there can be some stability. But, in spite of a new person at the NPA being appointed, I believe there should be an investigation, be it through a commission of inquiry or another investigation, as to the independence, or the workings of the NPA," he said.
'It's the honest thing to do. I really commend them'
President Cyril Ramaphosa recently announced that he would be consulting with a wide number of organisations in his hunt for a new NDPP. In August, the Constitutional Court gave Ramaphosa 90 days in which to appoint someone to that position.
Meanwhile, former Gauteng Hawks head Shadrack Sibiya has said that the decision by the Sunday Times to return all awards and prize money from a series of questionable stories was "the honest thing to do".
Sibiya, former Hawks boss Anwa Dramat, and senior officer Lesley Maluleke had been charged with the illegal rendition of Zimbabwean prisoners. Those charges were provisionally dropped last week. In October 2011, the Sunday Times accused Sibiya of being involved in the illegal rendition of Zimbabwean suspects, during which some of the suspects died.
Sibiya told News24 that the Sunday Times had done the "honest" thing, but said that those responsible for the campaign who were still in the police needed to be held accountable.
Sibiya has always maintained that police crime intelligence was behind the accusations, and that he was being targeted for investigating former crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli. He was fired over the allegations in September, 2015.
Sibiya was later hired to lead an anti-corruption unit at the City of Johannesburg, where he is now stationed.
In an editorial published on Sunday, Sunday Times editor Bongani Siqoko said that, while the paper and its investigations team had not been motivated by political, commercial or personal interests, "something went wrong" in its reporting on the death squads, SARS, and the renditions.
"What is clear is that we committed mistakes and allowed ourselves to be manipulated by those with ulterior motives... There was ferocious infighting within state institutions, and warring factions were prepared to use state organs to settle scores. In the process, villains became heroes, and heroes fell as the tectonic loyalty plates shifted violently, as we have seen in the case of former Hawks head Anwa Dramat and General Shadrack Sibiya of the Gauteng Hawks, and SARS officials who became targets of this political project.
"That we allowed our stories to be abused for this purpose, we apologise," Siqoko wrote.
Speaking to News24 on Monday, Sibiya said the paper had done the right thing, but said more needed to be done to expose those behind the leaks.
"It's the honest thing to do. I really commend them," he said.
'We need to know who was responsible for what'
Sibiya said the Sunday Times apology went some way to restoring the credibility of those who were falsely accused in the stories. However, he said the forces behind the stories in crime intelligence needed to be held accountable.
He said the Sunday Times journalists should not reveal who their sources were, although it was now clear they had come from police crime intelligence.
"But since it is the media who reported on this, it is up to the media to question the motives of those who misled them...
"We know crime intelligence was behind this, but those people are still at SAPS, and they have not been held accountable. We need to know who was responsible for what, and in what role," Sibiya said.
He had been vindicated "to a certain extent", Sibiya said, but aded that he still wanted an opportunity to tell his side of the story.
Sibiya said there was hope for the criminal justice system, since the new head of the Hawks, advocate Godfrey Lebeya, was a "man of integrity".
Booysen said that the clean-up had begun at the Hawks and SARS, but that it was critical that those behind the campaign against him and the others were removed.
NPA spokesperson advocate Luvuyo Mfaku said the NPA did not want to respond to any of the issues raised because Booysen's case was still before the courts.
WATCH: Former KZN Hawks boss Johan Booysen on Sunday Times saga