South African Police Probe Threat to Parliamentary Investigators

South African police are investigating security threats reportedly made to two parliamentarians examining allegations of corruption by former Communications Minister Dina Pule.

Parliament informed police about possible threats to Ben Turok and Fazela Mahomed, who are investigating Pule, a former minister who’s been implicated in alleged corrupt activities, the South African Police Service said in a statement today. A man the paper didn’t identify told the Sunday Times he had been hired to organize the assassination of the two investigators, the newspaper reported today.

“Our analysis thus far does not indicate any threats on the members of the panel” which is investigating Pule, the police service said. “We must highlight that these threats are taken seriously and we will continue with our analysis.”

Attempts by Bloomberg News to contact Pule for comment through the Department of Communications and the African National Congress were unsuccessful.

Pule’s partner, Phosane Mngqibisa, was responsible for the assassination plan, the Sunday Times said, citing the man it didn’t identify. Mngqibisa described the report as “nonsense” and said police are in fact investigating people trying to extort money from him, the Johannesburg-based newspaper said.

“We interviewed a number of people including the person who claims to have first-hand information regarding the security threat allegations,” the police said today. “This person has proven to be very uncooperative and not credible. He makes allegations which he cannot corroborate.”

The threats are “an attack on the institution of parliament and the people of South Africa,” the ANC, the country’s ruling party, said in an e-mailed statement. “The police must leave no stone unturned to ensure that such acts of bullying and thuggery are never repeated against an institution such as parliament.”

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