Two Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) investigators and a vetting officer have allegedly conspired to sabotage the organisation's investigations into former acting national police commissioner, Lieutenant General Khomotso Phahlane.
Sources close to the investigation told News24 that the three were allegedly offered positions by the SAPS to falsely implicate IPID head Robert McBride.
The officers were part of IPID's task team investigating allegations of corruption against Phahlane.
News24 has learnt that they were apparently offered "cushy" positions - that of brigadier in Crime Intelligence and detective in the SAPS.
In a letter seen by News24, which was allegedly written by one of the investigators Cedrick Nkabinde, and which was addressed to Minister of Police Bheki Cele, it was said that IPID boss Robert McBride was involved in "unethical conduct".
The letter claimed that McBride allowed forensic investigator Paul O'Sullivan to spearhead an investigation into Phahlane, together with his assistant Sarah Jane Trent.
It was also alleged that McBride divulged official and confidential information to O'Sullivan and his assistant, leaked information to the media, and conducted investigations through the media to "deliberately tarnish the images of specific individuals".
When contacted for comment, Nkabinde referred News24 to IPID spokesperson Moses Dlamini.
Dlamini said they have been aware of the matter since January 2018 but did not have "incontrovertible proof until recently".
He said the allegations against McBride were made out of "spite and malice".
"They are contradicted by the evidence at the IPID's disposal, some of it gathered by Nkabinde himself. For instance, [he] recommended that Phahlane and his goons, led by Major General [Ntebo] Mabula be prosecuted for defeating the ends of justice. Now that he has been removed from the investigation, he now turns around and says the IPID's investigation was led by O'Sullivan," he said.
Nkabinde had initially recommended that Phahlane be prosecuted for defeating the ends of justice.
Phahlane corruption case
McBride said the allegations levelled against him came as IPID was interviewing more suspects in Phahlane's corruption case.
"Nkabinde's allegations are made to boost his chances of being accepted by the SAPS, some of whom are under investigation by the IPID. The IPID will not be deterred from pursuing its investigations."
"We will not be intimidated into stopping our investigations against Phahlane, which is the real motive behind the actions of our suspects. We will release more information in due course. It is a matter of public record that the IPID's investigations have uncovered corruption running into millions in the SAPS and every day we uncover more. We expect that there will be push back against us."
Meanwhile, Police Minister Bheki Cele told News24 on Thursday that he was looking into the matter.
"The matter has been reported to the portfolio committee, that the police are trying to bribe the investigators of IPID so that they can turn against [McBride].
"The portfolio committee is looking into it... and with more facts, I'm looking into the matter," he said.