TOP COP PHAHLANE GETS THE CHOP
Phahlane moved back to head forensic services
ACTING national police commissioner Lieutenant-General Khomotso Phahlane has been removed from this position by President Jacob Zuma in the wake of allegations of corruption against him.
Phahlane was moved back to his position as head of forensic services, and regional police commissioner Lieutenant-General Lesetja Mothiba has been appointed the new acting national commissioner.
However, Phahlane was then requested immediately by Police Minister Fikile Mbalula to give reasons why he should not be suspended from his position as head of forensic services.
Mbalula noted that the department had acted quickly against Phahlane following the allegations against him.
But he said due process had to be followed before action could be taken.
Mbalula also said the police would have a permanent head by August, as suspended commissioner Riah Phiyega’s contract ends on June 10.
Mothiba told the media in Parliament he would focus on fighting crime.
He said he would be meeting the minister to discuss the way forward. “We know the minister presented his budget vote last week. My role is to fight crime and provide a service to the people of this country,” said Mothiba.
Mbalula said there were serious allegations of misconduct against Phahlane which impacted on his fitness to hold office.
“The allegations against Phahlane raise questions of conduct that are inconsistent with expectations that South Africans have of those who hold leadership positions in our police service,” he said.
Mbalula said he had informed Zuma of the negative impact Phahlane’s presence continued to have on the police. He said the police’s job was to fight crime in the country and not to be sidetracked.
Mbalula added that the allegations against Phahlane were serious and posed a threat to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid).
Phahlane has been involved in a fight with Ipid, with both parties accusing the other of wrongdoing. The fight resulted in heated exchanges in Parliament two weeks ago, and Mbalula will return to Parliament next week to give an update.
Ipid accused Phahlane of setting up a special unit from North West to harass its investigators.
But Phahlane hit back, accusing Ipid of flouting the law in its probe and using private investigator Paul O’Sullivan.
Mbalula said he would meet the top brass of the police and provincial commissioners today to brief them.
Speaking out against the abuse of police resources, he said they would not tolerate what Phahlane did as alleged by Ipid.
“We will never allow state machinery to be misused to address narrow individual interests. We must intervene and be decisive when state resources are misused,” he said.
This was in reference to claims by Ipid that Phahlane was using his office to set up a unit from North West to intimidate officials investigating him.
Phahlane denied this in Parliament and said the unit was looking into his safety after he had been attacked during a robbery in Joburg in June last year.
OUT: Khomotso Phahlane
IN: Lesetja Mothiba