The hunt for Ali Salman, featured in a video containing a suspected hint to an alleged assassination attempt on prominent Polokwane businessman and security company owner Shabier Valjie, is escalating and the Police in the province are stepping up efforts to have him arrested with the request for information on his immediate whereabouts.
On Tuesday afternoon information was received about a new case of intimidation having been registered with Polokwane Police against Salman the previous day. A case of attempted murder of Razeen Patel, brother to double murder accused Rameez Patel, was provisionally withdrawn against the same suspect mid-last year, while he is reportedly also wanted for alleged violation of the country’s immigration laws pending in Polokwane.
Anyone with information on Salman’s whereabouts is requested to contact the Police’s crime stop number 08600 10111 or the nearest Police station, stated Provincial Police Communications Head Motlafela Mojapelo who confirmed the latest case relating to the alleged threat contained in the video.
The clip forwarded to Polokwane Observer contains a perceived assassination threat seemingly masterly disguised as part of commentary on justice having been served on Valjie, who laid charges of common assault and intimidation against Salman’s father, Salman Hamid after a violent incident in Superbia a fortnight ago.
During the incident Valjie was allegedly threatened with his life by Salman, who would have identified himself as boss of the so-called Pakistani mafia on the scene following a group of suspects identified as foreign nationals reportedly attacking the son of the business owner. According to information Hamid, in return, registered two charges of common assault and pointing of a firearm against Valjie, who was reportedly on the scene when providing backup to his crew members already on the scene, after two days had lapsed.
It is suspected that the video featuring Salman, referring to himself as “Ali G”, could have been sent into the public domain last Wednesday after Valjie and his father made court appearance in the respective matters. Both men are expected back in court in April this year.
In the video image Salman is seen to be using the platform to thank the South African judiciary system because “today justice has been served”. In a masqueraded message to Valjie he warned that “100 metres is a far distance, so I hope that you understand and you know your mathematics and stay away”. To an uninformed viewer he could be seen to continue with the harmless promotion of a sporting event being punted for early next month, but a trail of cases and entries in Police occurrence books points at a history of alleged death threats against Valjie and his family members in the past.
Thus far it is the second criminal case Valjie has made against the same suspect since an incident in Nirvana in November last year when he claimed to have been threatened with his life.
A case of intimidation against Hamid and a second accused was provisionally withdrawn around that time an ensuing case of extortion, stemming from the incident, was provisionally withdrawn against Salman and another accused in Polokwane Magistrate’s Court shortly after the reported incident.
According to information Salman has been sought by the Police ever since the institution of charges relating to contravention of South Africa’s immigration laws for which Hamid had appeared in the same court in December last year. Polokwane Observer reported that Hamid was granted R2 000 bail and is scheduled to appear in court again at the end of this month.
In the beginning of January Polokwane Observer reported on the Westenburg Police having been informed of an alleged threat against Valjie’s safety, which was apparently conveyed on the phone to one of his crew members in the new year.
This week Valjie informed Polokwane Observer that he had laid a complaint with the Police’s provincial structure last Thursday questioning the conduct of members of the Police in Westenburg following the Superbia incident, citing unlawful arrest. By expressing his disappointment with the occurrences, he quoted from a circular issued by the National Police Commissioner dated 19 November last year cautioning Police members to refrain from unnecessarily detaining members of the public. In the document he mentioned Police Commissioner Khehla Sitole’s letter referencing unlawful instructions relating to arrest and detention of suspects issued by commanders – including provincial commissioners, cluster and station commanders down to unit heads – having resulted in civi claims being instituted against the South African Police Service by persons who either were unlawfully arrested or unlawfully detained. “This has already resulted in the Service being ordered to pay millions of Rands in compensation for such persons. This situation is totally unacceptable and must stop with immediate effect.”
By sketching a scenario in Superbia that corroborated with the version of occurrences relayed on the scene, Valjie claimed in the document that while threatened with his life that afternoon the Police officials called out to the scene failed to take his statement intended for purposes of registering a criminal case and that the charges against him were not properly investigated. It was learnt that he got arrested the following Tuesday, locked up for three hours and warned to appear in court upon being given R500 bail at Westenburg Police Station, while Salman was given bail of R500 at Westenburg Police station the previous day without detention.
In his correspondence to the Police in Limpopo Valjie highlighted that he had been arrested and detained for more than three hours, despite the fact that the investigating officer in the case against him, a Sergeant Petja, had failed to ask for the available video footage in the case to determine whether he indeed produced a firearm.
In the complaint letter he questioned why a suspected illegal immigrant who reportedly repeatedly hurled alleged death threats at him would be protected by the Westenburg Police while he as a law abiding citizen, with business interests in the city the past almost 20 years and who was very actively involved in fighting crime in Polokwane for close to a decade, would be unlawfully detained.
He expressed concern with the fact that he was being targeted as a citizen of the country by persons alleged to be illegal immigrants and with the Police on the ground apparently seen to be compromised for their reluctance to assist him. He yet again raised the issue of all the available evidence in video footage and phone conversations when he emphasised that it would prove beyond reasonable doubt that he had not intimidated anyone or pointed a firearm on the day in question.
He further stressed that the Police simply failed to check the validity of the suspected attackers on the scene.
It coincided with an earlier version of his summary of the events on the scene when he related that his insistence to lay charges while still on the business premises where the bloody attack occurred was completely ignored when a particular Police official drove off without further ado.
At the time of going to print Mojapelo advised that Valjie redirected his complaint to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid).
Story: YOLANDE NEL