Phindile Baleni
Phindile Baleni. Photo: GCIS

Security Agencies are investigating a death threat, sent to Director-General in the Presidency, Phindile Baleni, by mail last week. While the government has reiterated its commitment to fight corruption, even in the face of threats of violence, the decision to share the death threat letter and a bullet with the world has been questioned.

The letter, addressed to the DG, instructed her to advise the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development to “release [the] suspect” in the murder case of former Gauteng Health Department top official and whistleblower Babita Deokaran who was killed in an alleged assassination last year.

The letter also instructed Baleni to advise President Cyril Ramaphosa “not to proceed with State Capture findings” or she would meet the same fate as Thabo Masebe, Babita Deokaran and Thabo Moerane.

“We know where you drive and all your visiting points. The plan is complete. But only if you consider our proposal then, the deal will be struck off. The President listens to you [more] than any other person. Those two cars you always travel with, we have a good plan for them. We are not scared of those soldiers that are escorting you.

“Something special is on for you. Any province you travel [in] we have our eyes on the ground,” the letter reads.

A forensic psychologist told EWN this morning: “I don’t think this should have been a media release made by the Presidency and I’m actually horrified that they actually showed the (world) the actual letter and the bullet that was found at Baleni’s house.”

Dr Gerard Labuschagne explained: “I am sure the police investigating this are pulling their hair out. You have essentially given the threatener status credibility and stroked his ego because now the highest office in the land is responding to his threat.” (Listen to the full interview here.)

The Presidency said in a press statement today: “Several days ago, Ms Baleni received a threat by an unknown person or persons who seemingly want to affect the Presidency’s processing of the findings of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture, Corruption and Fraud in the Public Sector including Organs of State.

“Ms Baleni found, in her letter box at home, an envelope containing a bullet and a letter in which the perpetrator(s) made a threat against her life. The fight against crime and corruption will be unaffected by this threat against the Director-General,” the Presidency said.

According to the Presidency, Baleni is receiving protection to enable her to continue her critical duties as DG, Cabinet Secretary and Convenor of the Forum of South African Directors-General. –