Phiyega al­lies take Nh­leko to court

CityPress - - News -

Two sus­pended se­nior po­lice of­fi­cers are drag­ging act­ing po­lice com­mis­sioner Lieu­tenant Gen­eral Jo­hannes Phahlane and Po­lice Min­is­ter Nathi Nh­leko to court over what they call “un­fair labour prac­tices”.

The two, for­mer na­tional po­lice spokesper­son Lieu­tenant Gen­eral Solomon Mak­gale and deputy com­mis­sioner Nobubele Mbekela, launched an ur­gent ap­pli­ca­tion in the Jo­han­nes­burg Labour Court on Thurs­day, seek­ing to have their sus­pen­sions set aside.

Mak­gale and Mbekela state in their joint court ap­pli­ca­tion that the de­ci­sion to have them sus­pended was made with “ul­te­rior mo­tives” in mind, and that they were side­lined be­cause of their close­ness to sus­pended po­lice com­mis­sioner Riah Phiyega.

In a found­ing af­fi­davit by Mbekela, a copy of which City Press has ob­tained, she says she and Mak­gale were “di­rected to hand over our ... cell­phones, lap­top com­put­ers and our cer­tifi­cates of ap­point­ment”. “All the above items are nec­es­sary for the prepa­ra­tion of en­su­ing dis­ci­plinary hear­ings. Our rights to a fair hear­ing process will be un­der­mined if [they] are taken away from us,” she wrote.

She also claimed that Phahlane’s rea­sons for sus­pend­ing her went against the po­lice’s in­ter­nal dis­ci­plinary reg­u­la­tions.

Mbekela wrote in court pa­pers that prior to her sus­pen­sion, Phahlane of­fered her an early exit pack­age but later re­neged on the of­fer. Mak­gale and Mbekela also stated in their sub­mis­sions that the draft re­port by par­lia­ment’s port­fo­lio com­mit­tee on po­lice – about them drum­ming up sup­port for Phiyega, for which they were sus­pended – was al­ready be­ing chal­lenged by Phiyega.

The two have given both Phahlane and Nh­leko un­til the end of next week to file op­pos­ing pa­pers, fail­ing which, the mat­ter will be heard on De­cem­ber 23.

Mak­gale and Mbekela’s state­ments sup­port­ing Phiyega were made pub­lic in Par­lia­ment by sev­eral pro­vin­cial com­mis­sion­ers when it be­came clear that Phiyega would face a board of in­quiry into her fit­ness to hold of­fice af­ter the re­lease of the Marikana Com­mis­sion of In­quiry re­port.

Mbekela faced ad­di­tional charges of im­proper con­duct af­ter she said in a ra­dio in­ter­view that “the men of the coun­try are at­tack­ing women in the coun­try”, in­di­cat­ing that Phiyega was be­ing tar­geted be­cause of her gen­der.

Po­lice spokesper­son Bri­gadier Hang­wani Mu­laudzi re­fused to dis­cuss any changes in the po­lice’s man­age­ment struc­ture, say­ing these were in­ter­nal mat­ters.

– Abram Mashego

Nobubele Mbekela

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