Mbalula wants top cop posts filled soon
POLICE Minister Fikile Mbalula wants the appointments of a new head of the Hawks and a permanent national police commissioner to be completed speedily.
Mbalula told MPs yesterday he wanted to fill these critical posts urgently. He said the contract of suspended National Commissioner Riah Phiyega comes to an end on Saturday, and a permanent commissioner needed to be appointed soon.
LieutenantGeneral Lesetja Mothiba was appointed acting national commissioner last week after Lieutenant-General Khomotso Phahlane was removed from this post.
Mbalula, who was briefing the portfolio committee on police on the appointment of Mothiba, said he wanted a permanent head of the police by August.
He also told the committee they wanted to appoint the permanent head of the Hawks urgently. Lieutenant-General Yolisa Matakata became the acting head of the Hawks after Mbalula removed Berning Ntlemeza.
But Ntlemeza is fighting his axing in court and last week, the Supreme Court of Appeal heard his application. Mbalula said despite their best intentions to fill these positions, they were hamstrung by legal processes.
“Some of those things are not dependent on us, but on litigation. Even the (suspended) national commissioner has been in court. But her contract comes to an end on Saturday. We’ll then have to confirm a permanent commissioner with the president,” said Mbalula.
He spoke out against the fact that there were fewer members on the ground to fight crime. He said they were cutting down on personnel and their budget did not reflect this.
He also told the committee they wanted the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) to focus on its mandate.
He said he did not want to see police units and agencies involved in fighting one other. He said this was why he acted in the manner he did with Phahlane last week.
Mbalula said last week it would be in the best interest of both Phahlane and SAPS for him to be removed from the position of acting national commissioner.
Phahlane was involved in a spat with Ipid over the last few months, with each accusing the other of wrongdoing.
The committee had resolved to bring Mbalula to Parliament on the spat between the two parties, but Phahlane was removed last week before yesterday’s meeting.
They were hamstrung by legal processes