Mbalula wants top cop posts filled soon

The Star Early Edition - - POLITICS - SIYABONGA MKHWANAZI

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

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