Moun­tain Rise gets new clus­ter com­man­der

Weekend Witness - - News - CHELSEA PIETERSE

IN a sud­den move by po­lice, for­mer deputy clus­ter com­man­der of uM­gun­gundlovu South Bri­gadier Robert Mandla Gwala has taken over as the Moun­tain Rise clus­ter com­man­der.

It seems that mys­tery sur­rounds the rea­sons for the hasty de­par­ture of Ma­jorGen­eral Bongi Sit­hole, the pre­vi­ous in­cum­bent.

Po­lice of­fi­cers were left to spec­u­late over her de­par­ture.

Sev­eral at­tempts to reach Sit­hole were un­suc­cess­ful yes­ter­day.

Sit­hole started her ca­reer over 30 years ago in Um­lazi, slowly climb­ing the ranks, mov­ing be­tween var­i­ous spe­cialised units.

In 2010, Sit­hole was made sta­tion com­man­der at KwaDukuza and, most re­cently, was wear­ing two hats as the Pine­town sta­tion com­man­der as well as the act­ing clus­ter com­man­der for that area.

By Thurs­day af­ter­noon, the news of Sit­hole’s exit was be­ing dis­cussed in whisBri­gadier Robert Mandla Gwala is the new act­ing clus­ter com­man­der of the Moun­tain Rise po­lice sta­tion. PHOTO: FACE­BOOK pers in po­lice cor­ri­dors with many won­der­ing what the rea­son for her de­par­ture was.

On Thurs­day af­ter­noon Gwala was an­nounced as the act­ing Moun­tain Rise clus­ter com­man­der.

How­ever, po­lice have re­mained tightlippe­d re­gard­ing the rea­sons sur­round­ing Sit­hole’s de­par­ture.

Pro­vin­cial po­lice spokesper­son Bri­gadier Jay Naicker said “un­for­tu­nately this is an in­ter­nal mat­ter be­tween em­ployer and em­ployee and ... we can­not dis­cuss th­ese is­sues in the pub­lic do­main”.

A phone call be­tween Week­end Wit­ness and the clus­ter of­fice re­vealed that Sit­hole was not around yes­ter­day.

Gwala was the sta­tion com­man­der for Plessis­laer be­fore mov­ing to the Pi­eter­mar­itzburg clus­ter of­fice as deputy clus­ter com­man­der.

In 2016, Gwala came un­der fire for boast­ing his al­leged af­fil­i­a­tion to the ANC on Face­book, an act which con­tra­venes the po­lice’s code of con­duct.

Safe City’s Lu­cas Holtzhause­n said Gwala had climbed through the ranks as a po­lice of­fi­cer and had been very strict with crack­ing down on crime in the Plessis­laer area. “Plessis­laer and Moun­tain Rise have sim­i­lar is­sues so I feel he is the right per­son for the job ...” he said.

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