A plot to kill Nelson Mandela and a cover up by police. This‚ along with other evidence presented to the Cape Town High Court on Monday‚ is central to SAPS Major-General Andre Lincoln’s claims for damages relating to a “malicious” investigation against him by police in the 1990s.
In 1996 Mandela‚ who was then president‚ appointed Lincoln‚ as the head of a presidential investigating task unit‚ to head up a special undercover unit to investigate Mafia operations in South Africa.
He investigated links between Mafia boss Vito Palazzolo‚ chief commissioner of the organised crime unit Neels Venter and ANC stalwart Pallo Jordan.
Lincoln told the court he was also tasked with investigating a plot to kill Mandela on the day of his inauguration in 1994.
Lincoln said the investigation “went nowhere” and that it was actively resisted by police up to the highest ranks.
He told the court that “for the first time in South African history” a search warrant had to be obtained to search the police national headquarters in Pretoria.
Lincoln said they found a “hand-crafted rifle” under the desk of a senior police officer which was apparently going to be used in the assassination attempt.
Lincoln was later convicted on various counts of fraud relating to irregular expenditure for the use of a car in covert operations.
He was sentenced to nine years. He appealed and the conviction was overruled in 2009. He was later appointed a Major-General and is also the Wynberg police cluster commander.
In court on Monday‚ Lincoln read testimonies by former members of the unit who said they had been intimidated by police to testify against him.
He said he had also been “threatened” by a former provincial head of the National Intelligence Agency not to testify against then Safety and Security minister Sydney Mufamadi “in the interests of the country”.
“He said‚ should I plead guilty to the charges against me‚ I would go to prison but the agency would make sure that I do not spend more than a week in prison‚” said Lincoln. The case continues on Tuesday.