On Friday, South Africans were stunned as the Hawks arrested former minister Malusi Gigaba's wife, Norma, for malicious damage to property.
She stands accused of damaging a luxury car lent to him by a friend in a fit of rage over his alleged infidelity.
Of public interest perhaps was that Norma was arrested by the Hawks whose mandate is to go after priority crimes.
It has since emerged that the Hawks are also investigating an alleged murder plot against Gigaba which was uncovered in June.
City Press says Gigaba reported the alleged plot to the police in May, and there is an active police investigation into the matter.
This new information comes after a dramatic few weeks, which saw a Mercedes Benz G-Wagon belonging to Gigaba’s friend – Peterson Siyaya – badly damaged at the Gigabas’ matrimonial home in Waterkloof Ridge in Pretoria.
Siyaya had lent the vehicle to Gigaba.
Gigaba’s wife Norma was dramatically arrested on Friday and taken to the Brooklyn Police Station, where she was kept until Saturday.
She was released on R5 000 bail and ordered to appear in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court on Monday.
There are a number of questions that we believe arise from this situation.
First, let us be clear that police must indeed investigate all allegations against her and if found guilty, she must be fully held to account as courts would determine.
So far there is no suggestion in the public domain to refute that Norma was the perpetrator behind the damage to the car. Gigaba himself appears to believe that she was when he opened a case against her.
If indeed she is, she must face the full might of the law for her violent act.
The question remains, however, why officers from our priority crimes unit were the ones making an arrest in a matter that would ordinarily be handled by the rank and file police officers?
That the Hawks have, for at least two months, been investigating an alleged murder plot in which Norma may be involved does not sufficiently justify that they, instead of ordinary police officers, be the ones to arrest her for what appears – for now – to be an unrelated incident.
According to a Hawks investigator who spoke anonymously to the Sunday Times, when Norma allegedly damaged the car, this gave the Hawks an opportunity "to drill into what we were already investigating".
While it is perfectly justifiable for the Hawks to use such an opportunity to ramp up their investigation into the alleged murder plot, it still does not adequately explain why they would play a leading role in the case that does not necessarily fall under their mandate.
Why is this important?
We believe that our criminal justice system must go after everyone who is suspected of wrongdoing, without fear or favour. But in doing so, their actions must always be and be seen to be above reproach.
Hawks spokesperson Hangwani Mulaudzi explains the arrest.
"In this case, we were briefed or informed of a very serious matter which necessitated us to look into it and to investigate it as well. It is not something very light, it is a very serious matter that we are dealing with and unfortunately we cannot get into those details but this is just one part of the investigations that we are dealing with, there is still a second leg," he said.
She is expected to appear in the Hatfield Magistrate court for a bail application on Monday.
City Press reported that the criminal cases were opened two weeks ago by her husband and Siyaya.
Gigaba opened a case of malicious damage to property, while Siyaya laid the charge of crimen injuria.
On Wednesday, the Hawks confiscated three electronic gadgets – a cellphone, a computer and a Notebook – all belonging to Norma, as part of their investigation.
Sources close to the family revealed details of the fraught relationship between the Gigabas and claimed that the marriage had been “hanging by a thread” for some time.
“There is a bigger problem than these allegations of cheating levelled against Malusi. He is a broken man. The whole thing started two weeks ago when Malusi and Norma had differences at their house. Malusi called Peterson to tell him what had happened [to his car], and he [went to the police and] opened a case of malicious damage to property against his wife,” said a source.
Sources close to the family revealed details of the fraught relationship between the Gigabas and claimed that the marriage had been “hanging by a thread” for some time
“Peterson came to their house to understand why his car was damaged, and Norma insulted him with unprintable insults.
“This is when Peterson decided to open the case against Norma.”
According to those privy to the matter, Gigaba and Siyaya had been trying to drop the charges against Norma after the parties had a discussion and agreed not to press on.
Sources said the Gigabas had agreed that he would drop the charges and Siyaya would do the same.
But the police investigation was already at an advanced stage.
The police officers arrived at the house on Friday, where Hawks members arrested Norma in her husband’s presence.
City Press has been reliably informed that Gigaba opened a case in May after he was tipped off that hitmen had been hired to kill him.
The hit was supposed to be executed during one of his visits to KwaZulu-Natal.
After receiving the tip off, Gigaba changed his plans and started taking extra precautions. He then reported the matter to the police.
When he opened the case in May, Gigaba did not name any suspects, according to the sources.
Soon after the Hawks arrested Norma, they started reviewing the previous complaint about an alleged assassination plot.
“When Norma got to the police with Malusi, the police then produced the statement of the assassination case, even though she was not taken in on that matter and there was no suspect behind the plot to kill Malusi,” said the insider.
Another source close to the Gigaba family claimed that the former ANC Youth League leader was living in fear.
Another family friend said that “things are bad in that household”.
“Malusi is fearing for his life. On top of that, things are messy in his marriage as he is dealing with the domestic issues.”
The source said their relationship had been deteriorating “for at least five years”.
“They live under the same roof, but there is no relationship between them … As friends, we are also praying that they fix things or decide if they separate for good, as this is not good for both,” said the insider.
Those close to the matter dismissed the rumours circulating on social media that an alleged lover of Gigaba’s was pregnant with twins.
“The identity of women whom people claim is pregnant keeps changing and that shows it’s just an allegation and nothing can be proven,” said the source.