Mawela tipped to take Phiyega’s post

CityPress - - Front Page - ABRAM MASHEGO abram.mashego@city­press.co.za

Deputy na­tional po­lice com­mis­sioner Lieu­tenant Gen­eral Elias Mawela has been tipped to act in his boss’s place when Gen­eral Riah Phiyega is sus­pended by Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma.

On Fri­day night, the pres­i­dency re­leased a state­ment say­ing Zuma had writ­ten to Phiyega ask­ing her to pro­vide rea­sons she should not be sus­pended pend­ing an in­quiry into her fit­ness to hold of­fice.

Three se­nior po­lice sources told City Press that those in the run­ning in­clude Mawela, who heads the na­tional joint op­er­a­tional and in­tel­li­gence struc­ture (Natjoints); as well as deputy na­tional com­mis­sion­ers Kehla Sithole, head of polic­ing op­er­a­tion, and Nobubele Mbekela, head of cor­po­rate ser­vice man­age­ment.

But the three said Mawela was lead­ing the pack and it is widely un­der­stood within the po­lice ser­vice that he will act in Phiyega’s ab­sence.

One of the sources told City Press: “This has al­ready cre­ated an­i­mos­ity among Phiyega’s deputies as they think they are be­ing over­looked.”

How­ever, the sources were un­able to con­firm whether Mawela would re­place Phiyega per­ma­nently, were she to be fired.

Mawela, the di­vi­sional com­mis­sioner for op­er­a­tional re­sponse ser­vices, who is re­spon­si­ble for main­tain­ing public or­der, is un­der­stood to be close to Phiyega.

Phiyega has come un­der fire this week for her SMSes to the po­lice union and the DA’s Dianne Kohler Barnard.

Yesterday, it emerged that the SA Polic­ing Union was su­ing Phiyega and Po­lice Min­is­ter Nathi Nh­leko for R1 mil­lion in dam­ages for defama­tion af­ter Phiyega sent a “defam­a­tory” SMS to the union’s sec­re­tary-gen­eral, Os­car Skom­mere.

City Press has seen a let­ter from the union’s at­tor­neys, dated Novem­ber 2014, de­mand­ing R500 000 each from Nh­leko and Phiyega.

The let­ter states that Phiyega wrote in her SMS: “The SAPS is not a kitchen as you al­lege. Your state­ment is very sex­ist and un­for­tu­nate. You can­not wish Basadi away. We present a dif­fer­ent and ca­pa­ble po­lar­ity. What you ar­tic­u­lated is un­for­tu­nately raw chau­vin­ism and it has no space in our demo­cratic dis­pen­sa­tion

“I am sure the public shall ap­pre­ci­ate the voices of a woman on this one.

“You re­lent­lessly present a right wing at­ti­tude in most of your state­ments. I am avail­able to en­gage. Talk­ing of me through the media is cow­ardly. Riah Phiyega.”

This week, she also sent an SMS to MP and DA po­lice spokesper­son Kohler Barnard, which Kohler Barnard showed to the par­lia­men­tary port­fo­lio com­mit­tee on po­lice this week.

Phiyega and her spokesper­son, Solomon Mak­gale, did not re­spond to re­quests for com­ment on Fri­day and yesterday.

The pres­i­dency said the in­quiry into Phiyega would in­ves­ti­gate “al­le­ga­tions of mis­con­duct and/or lack of fit­ness for the of­fice that she oc­cu­pies and/or her abil­ity to ex­e­cute her du­ties ef­fi­ciently . . . and any other con­duct which may have a bear­ing on her po­si­tion as Head of the Po­lice Ser­vice”.

The se­nior po­lice sources said Pres­i­dent Zuma had given Phiyega seven days in which to make writ­ten rep­re­sen­ta­tions why she should not be sus­pended from ac­tive duty.

PRES­SURE Riah Phiyega

NEXT IN LINE? Elias Mawela

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