Hawks deny Norma Gigaba's arrest was unlawful, 'didn't seize devices'


The Hawks have strongly denied there was anything unlawful or malicious about their arrest of former Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba's estranged wife Nomachule, who they say was under investigation for allegedly stating in a text message that she "would hurt and destroy" her husband.

In court papers filed on Tuesday, Mpumalanga Hawks Captain Kenneth Mavuso has revealed that, during June 2020, Malusi Gigaba – who has reportedly sought to distance himself from his wife's arrest – "laid a complaint under oath that he had reason to believe, and that he had been informed, that there is a conspiracy to kill him".

Malusi Gigaba claimed under oath that his wife called "people from counter-intelligence" to come to the couple's home in the days before her arrest – an experience he said left him feeling "threatened, totally and (sic) unsafe in my own home".

It was during the course of a Mpumalanga Hawks task team's probe into these claims, Mavuso says, that the Hawks investigated, arrested and detained Norma Gigaba for charges of malicious damage to property and crimen injuria – both of which are linked to her marital disputes with her husband. Neither of these charges fall within the category of "priority crimes" that the elite unit is mandated to investigate.

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Now, in an attempt to explain why the Hawks had arrested Norma Gigaba for allegedly trashing a R3 million, black Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG "G-Wagon" during a domestic dispute with her husband, and sending an insulting WhatsApp message to his close friend Peterson Siyaya, Mavuso claims officers were informed that these charges may be linked to the alleged conspiracy to murder Gigaba.

According to Mavuso, "it was logical that our task team decided to investigate these offences as well and in continuation of our other investigation, to investigate these crimes as well which were allegedly committed by Mrs N Gigaba… to establish whether or not there was any link to the complaint of the conspiracy to commit murder".

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"These other crimes were then duly investigated and the dockets were presented to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to consider prosecution and enrolment of the charges, and a decision was taken to prosecute and arrest the applicant, as everyone is equal before the law."

Mavuso adds that "because of the high value of the amount of damage" to the car that Norma Gigaba allegedly vandalised "the normal or usual procedures were followed to obtain a warrant of arrest from a magistrate to bring the applicant before court to answer to the charges".

Norma Gigaba, however, insists that her arrest was anything but routine.

She is challenging the rationality, constitutionality and validity of the warrant used to arrest her on 31 July, just hours after she threatened to take legal action against the Hawks for seizing her devices less than two weeks before.

She also wants the High Court to issue an order declaring that the confiscation of her "information and communication technology equipment" was "unlawful, unconstitutional and accordingly invalid" and compelling the Hawks to "restore all information unlawfully removed from the ICT equipment".

In an urgent application that will be heard next week, Norma Gigaba details how she says she was unlawfully arrested on 31 July and held in a cell for 26 hours at the Brooklyn police station. She was then released on R5 000 bail.

She claims that, prior to her arrest, the Hawks seized all her devices and then later allegedly deleted messages, images and data from them, for reasons that she has yet to publicly reveal.

"The purpose for the deletion is completely nefarious, unlawful and potentially constitutes a criminal offence. That it had been perpetrated in conjunction with the Hawks is totally unconscionable," she states in court papers filed at the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria.

She further claims that she was able to ascertain that emails dated between December 2014 to December 2015, emails regarding international trips she took between 2015 and 2018, text messages for the period between 2014 and 2015 and pictures taken during local and international have all been removed or erased – and she demanded explanations from the Hawks as to why.

Mavuso has now flatly denied these claims.

He claims Norma Gigaba "voluntarily and lawfully handed over electronic devices" to the Hawks on 22 July 2020 and further insists that "any messages deleted from any devices were deleted by [Norma Gigaba] herself".

"We simply followed the normal procedure like in any other cases," he states.

Mavuso further insists that Norma Gigaba's challenge to her arrest and prosecution is not urgent and must be struck from the court roll. He contends that she can challenge the case against her during her criminal trial, but maintains that there is a "reasonable prospect" that she will be convicted.

He has strongly denied that his task team, or Gigaba himself, "abused" their powers to arrest Norma Gigaba on relatively minor charges and seize her devices without a warrant.

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