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Top South African Cop Probing COVID-19 PPE Contracts Was Poisoned, Police Sources Say

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South African police minister Bheki Cele at press conference on crime at World Cup 2010-06-29  - Sputnik International, 1920, 13.12.2021
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Sindile Mfazi was said to be investigating corruption in the South African Police Service at the time of his death in July — which the force claimed was due to COVID-19. But he was exhumed weeks later for an autopsy on suspicion that he was murdered.
South Africa's second highest-ranking police commander did not die of COVID-19 while probing corruption in the force — but was poisoned, sources have claimed.
South Africa's News 24 quoted police sources who finally dispelled the official explanation of the death in July of the Deputy National Police Commissioner of Crime Detection, Lieutenant-General Sindile Mfazi.
The news site said Mfazi was poisoned with casting resin, a toxic chemical used in the manufacture moulds, plastic toys, and figurines.
South African Police Service (SAPS) spokesman Brigadier Vish Naidoo confirmed on Monday that the general's death was under investigation, but not what kind offence was suspected.

"Because of the sensitivity and high profile associated with the case, a specialised team has been assigned to the case", Naidoo said.

"All I am prepared to say is that a criminal investigation into this matter is under way", he added. "I will not comment on the nature of the investigation or whether it is a murder or culpable homicide investigation".
The senior officer was 59 at the time of his death, which an SAPS press release said was “due to COVID-19-related complications”.
But the Daily Maverick reported on 1 September that Mfazi's body had been exhumed a week after his funeral on the suspicion of foul play — details which the police spokesman clarified with a correction.

"It was a few weeks after the burial that the body was exhumed. The purpose of an inquest is to determine circumstances and cause of death", Naidoo said.

“It is only after an inquest docket, and the evidence which it contains, is presented to an inquest prosecutor that a determination on the case can be made. Direction on the course the investigation must take is then given”.
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Corruption Probe

At the time of his death, Mfazi was reported to be investigating the allegedly irregular procurement of R1.6 Billion (£76 million) worth of personal protective equipment (PPE) for SAPS officers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Questioned about rumours that Mfazi's home had been "cleaned up" after his death and that his laptop computer and documents regarding the probe were missing, Naidoo said: "I don’t know anything about that".
But Mpho Kwinika, general secretary of the Independent Policing Union of SA, asked how the poisoning of a top police officer could have been missed.

"If he was poisoned, as is alleged, why was the poison not detected?" Kwinika asked. "It is not just anyone who knows the workings of a poison and how to mask it. This must be thoroughly investigated".

“It is alarming when the second-highest ranking officer in the SAPS dies under mysterious circumstances, though not surprising given the toxic environment some parts of the police service are in", he said.
Kwinika warned that given Mfazi's role in crime intelligence, "SA needs to be very worried".
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