Phiyega cleans house

2015-01-04 15:00

In what her detractors call a witch hunt and her allies hail as a cleanup, national police commissioner General Riah Phiyega is moving to axe at least eight senior officers.

City Press has learnt that among those in firing line are:

»?Major-General Mondli Zuma, who in 2013 was appointed by Phiyega as Gauteng’s police commissioner but was demoted after serving only one day. He is under investigation after his service pistol was stolen. Sources say the weapon has been linked to the ongoing taxi violence in KwaZulu-Natal;

»?Brigadier Mzwandile Tiyo, the Western Cape’s acting head of crime intelligence, was arrested for drinking and driving.

He’s been booked off sick for the past four months and, on his return, is expected to face a disciplinary committee;

»?Major-General Chris Ngcobo, the suspended national head of crime intelligence, has been found guilty by an internal inquiry of consistently lying about having a matric certificate;

»?Recently reinstated KwaZulu-Natal Hawks boss Major-General Johan Booysen, whom Phiyega says failed to act against members of the Cato Manor serious and violent crimes unit for their alleged use of excessive force;

»?KZN crime intelligence boss Lieutenant-General Deena Moodley, who is accused of trying to force politically connected businessman Thoshan Panday to turn state witness against the province’s police commissioner Lieutenant-General Mmamonnye Ngobeni.

Panday was charged with – and cleared of – fraud and corruption. He allegedly block-booked hotel rooms ahead of the 2010 World Cup and sold them to the police at inflated prices.

A former business partner of President Jacob Zuma’s son Edward, Panday paid for Ngobeni’s husband’s lavish birthday party in 2011. This sparked a probe by Booysen, which was shelved after the National Director of Public Prosecutions declined to prosecute.

Three of Moodley’s colleagues, senior crime intelligence operatives Colonel Brian Padayachee, Colonel Soobramoney Chetty and Warrant Officer Shamalan Moodley, also face the chop.

Phiyega’s spokesperson Lieutenant-General Solomon Makgale declined to respond to questions. City Press has learnt from three senior police sources that Zuma faces suspension for misconduct.

The relationship between Zuma and Phiyega broke down after she appointed him provincial commissioner in August 2013 and revoked it within a day because he hadn’t disclosed a pending drink-driving case.

The sources told City Press Zuma has written to Police Minister Nathi Nhleko’s reference group into Phiyega’s role as commissioner, asking for his job back.

Tiyo has also approached the reference group. He alleges he’s being unfairly targeted by the commissioner.

Tiyo reports to Ngcobo and is a complainant in the criminal case where Phiyega is accused of allegedly tipping off Western Cape cop boss Arno Lamoer about a probe into his alleged links with drug lords.

Ngcobo, who is suspended without pay after an internal probe, ruled that he “consistently lied about having a matric certificate”, was instrumental in ensuring Phiyega was criminally charged for allegedly defeating the ends of justice.

Ngcobo, too, has taken his grievances to the reference group.

He says as a former Umkhonto weSizwe combatant who was commissioned into the police at the dawn of the democratic era in 1994, he wasn’t required to have a matric certificate.

In KwaZulu-Natal, Phiyega has refused to allow Booysen – who was cleared of racketeering and hit squad charges initiated in the wake of his investigation into Ngobeni – to return to work.

That’s despite Booysen winning an interim order in the Durban High Court preventing her from suspending him again or firing him. He has also been cleared by an internal police board of inquiry.

Deena Moodley has been reassigned to the Pinetown cluster even though he won a Durban Labour Court case reinstating him as provincial crime intelligence head.

“Phiyega wants Booysen and Moodley gone. [KwaZulu-Natal commissioner] Ngobeni’s contract has been extended and this tells you where Phiyega stands,” a source in the province’s police told City Press.

“They’re going to remove everybody who was involved in the Panday investigation, no matter what happens in court.”

Sources supportive of Phiyega say she is cleaning up the police service and getting rid of dirty and crooked cops.

“She is just doing her job and trying to professionalise the police service. We cannot have criminals masquerading as police officers,” one senior police officer said.

Those opposing Phiyega say she’s engaged in a purge of those not loyal to her.

“[Phiyega] is targeting those she doesn’t like and it seems they are being monitored and charges are being trumped up to ensure that are dismissed,” said a senior police source.

.?Meanwhile, Hawks boss Anwa Dramat’s deadline for Police Minister Nathi Nhleko to respond to his demand to have his suspension lifted arrives tomorrow.

Dramat wants Nhleko to overturn the suspension and has threatened to go to court if this doesn’t happen.

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