The lead investigator in the State Capture Commission Frank Dutton died on Wednesday at the age of 72 after a long illness.
Dutton, a well known police officer, was born in Bela Bela in Limpopo in 1949, and went on to have a decorated career as a police officer in the SAPS and was renowned for exposing truths about the political violence that ravaged KwaZulu-Natal in the 1980s.
In his profile on the Presidency website, Dutton is acclaimed for having been appointed to head the KwaZulu-Natal investigation team of the Goldstone Commission with this leading to, among other things, the exposure of the workings of the SAP Security Branch’s hit squads under the command of former Colonel Eugene de Kock at Vlakplaas, and the association of the SAP top command structure in the murders of political opponents and other activists.
At the dawn of democracy in 1994 Dutton was appointed by the Minister of Safety and Security, Sydney Mufamadi, to establish and command the Investigation Task Unit (ITU) to investigate hit squads within the KwaZulu Police.
“This investigation led to the prosecution and acquittal of the former Minister of Defence, General Magnus Malan, and 10 former military officials in connection with the 1987 KwaMakhutha massacre,” his Presidency profile reads.
Dutton’s work was not only limited to South African borders, he also worked internationally when the late former president Nelson Mandela in 1996 agreed to Dutton’s secondment to the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).
“He played an important role in the ICTY’s investigations into genocide‚ war crimes and crimes against humanity in Bosnia‚ Croatia and Kosovo. He returned to South Africa in 2000 when he was appointed to establish and head the Directorate of Special Operations (Scorpions),” the Presidency says.
Dutton retired from the SAPS in 2003 for medical reasons after 37 years of service, and since his retirement, he remained involved in human rights-related work as a policing expert, both locally and abroad, the Presidency said.
“During his career, Frank Dutton continuously risked his life in the struggle to advance human rights, justice and peace.
“The dominant theme in his career was the investigation and prosecution of individuals guilty of committing political violence‚ war crimes‚ crimes against humanity and genocide,” the Presidency said.