Police watchdog IPID believes Crime Intelligence is plotting to implicate its head Robert McBride in wrongdoing.
"We have become aware of communication circulating amongst crime intelligence people, in which they discuss going after McBride," Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) spokesperson Moses Dlamini told News24.
"We also know those who are behind them. We have uncovered fraud, corruption, abuse of secret funds, and the targeting of civil society and individuals with slander. The work continues. We will not be distracted and have improved our security."
On Saturday, Eyewitness News reported that a case of assault had been opened against McBride for allegedly assaulting a young woman. He allegedly hit and tried to strangle the teenager in a car, it was reported.
Police spokesperson Brigadier Mathapelo Peters said SAPS was investigating a case of common assault.
"We will, however, not confirm the identity of neither the suspect nor the victim until the case has been brought before court," she said.
News24 understands that a woman not related to the teenager opened the case.
Since 1998, this woman has allegedly opened at least 11 cases at various police stations for crimes including theft, fraud, assault, giving a false name to police, and accusing a parent of beating up a child. It was not immediately clear who she opened the cases against.
IPID said it believed the assault case is likely part of a bigger plot to discredit McBride because of the work he had been doing fighting corruption.
This belief comes from an intelligence document which appears to emanate from Crime Intelligence, titled "Project Wonder". News24 however could not confirm the veracity of the document.
The document, which has been circulating in the last few weeks, apparently contains details of a plot to target McBride and Police Minister Fikile Mbalula, in an attempt to place people that they want in top posts.
The City Press reported on Sunday that Mbalula took the threats of Project Wonder so seriously that he and some of his employees were under 24-hour guard by officers of the police's VIP protection unit.
Mablula confirmed to the paper that he had seen the report: "We can't allow rogue [behaviour] in the police and they are trying to divert us from the task at hand. We are focused on the job that we have been assigned by the president and the ANC," he said.
One of objectives of the alleged "Project Wonder" is to "plan a hit on Mr McBride because he is busy with investigations on corrupt police activities".
Police spokesperson Major General Sally de Beer told News24 she has never seen the Project Wonder document and had no knowledge of its existence.
Crime Intelligence has been beset by infighting in recent weeks after it emerged that its former head Pat Mokushane did not have a security clearance certificate.
President Jacob Zuma's chief bodyguard, Major General King Bhoyi Ngcobo, was announced this week as the new acting head of Crime Intelligence.
'They discuss going after McBride'
IPID has been investigating cases against senior police members, such as former Hawks head Lieutenant General Berning Ntlemeza and former acting police commissioner Lieutenant General Khomotso Phahlane.
At the height of IPID's investigation into the two men, towards the end of 2016 and early 2017, the Hawks had plans to charge McBride for a number of different cases. In one affidavit seen by News24, a businessman states that a lieutenant-colonel had told him the Hawks wanted to open a firearms and murder case against McBride.
They wanted him to be a fourth witness.
The businessman says in the affidavit that the officer had told him that three other witnesses had already been told what to say to implicate McBride.
"He further told me that they want to nail McBride and they want to get rid of him. That is why they want anything to implicate McBride," the businessman said. -- News24Suggest a correction