Top cop hired and fired

2013-09-01 14:00

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Mondli Zuma was arrested for alleged drunk driving in 2008

Major General Mondli Zuma has set a new record – and not one to be proud of. His appointment as Gauteng’s new police chief was withdrawn just hours after it was announced.

Zuma’s appointment was announced by the police’s General Riah Phiyega yesterday as part of a major reshuffle of the police top structure that saw Hawks boss Anwa Dramat being moved out of the police top management team.

Zuma, a former VIP protection officer who has been a policeman since 1994 and is not related to President Jacob Zuma, was arrested for alleged drunk driving in Pietermaritzburg in 2008.

Just after 5pm yesterday, the police issued a statement in which Phiyega said: “I became aware of the court charges against Major General Zuma just after the media briefing today.”

She said this contravened an instruction issued on May 28 this year to all police employees “advising them that it was mandatory to declare any pending criminal investigation against them”.

She said she met Zuma, was briefed by him, and immediately withdrew his appointment. He will face disciplinary charges for failing to declare the ongoing court case against him.

He is due back in court this month.

Lieutenant General Lesetja Mothiba, divisional commissioner for visible policing, will act as the provincial commissioner of Gauteng “until further notice”.

In terms of amended legislation, Dramat and his unit will now report directly to Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa.

A year into her job as the country’s top cop, Phiyega has overhauled the police top structure, slashing the number of her deputies by half and appointing three new provincial commissioners.

The changes have seen the following deputy national commissioners being demoted:

» Lieutenant General Fannie Masemola (operational services), who becomes Limpopo police chief;

» Lieutenant General Bonang Mgwenya (chief operations officer);

» Lieutenant General Audrey Mofomme (physical resources management);

» Lieutenant General Godfrey Lebeya (crime detection), who becomes head of the SA Police Service research institute; and

» Lieutenant General Henry Mazibuko (HR management).

Phiyega’s deputies will now be former Free State police chief Lieutenant General Khehla Sithole (police operations), Lieutenant General Stefan Schutte (resource management, finances and technology) and Lieutenant General Christabel Mbekela (corporate service management).

A profile of Zuma, who replaces Lieutenant General Mzwandile Petros, was released by the police yesterday, describing him as an officer who had worked his way up the ranks.

The Witness reported in February last year that Zuma, then attached to the SA Police Service protection and security services in Pretoria, was charged with drunk driving, failing to stop when ordered to do so by a traffic officer and defeating the ends of justice.

Zuma allegedly escaped from police custody and locked himself inside his house for two hours to delay the process of taking a blood sample.

During his February 2012 appearance in the Pietermaritzburg Magistrates’ Court, Zuma was not asked to plead and the case was adjourned.

The Witness reported he was allegedly drunk behind the wheel of a Mercedes Vito in Alexandra Road, Pietermaritzburg, on December 19 2008.

He had been brought to court in response to a summons issued in January.

The newspaper established that the allegations against him arose from an incident in which he allegedly evaded a police roadblock and sought refuge in a house in the suburb of Bisley.

When confronted, a Breathalyser test was allegedly carried out and he was arrested.

He allegedly escaped by “pushing” aside the arresting officer and locking himself in the house for two hours, preventing a blood sample from being taken, reported The Witness.

Petros, whose contract ended yesterday, has agreed to stay on until the end of the year, but has not renewed his contract, indicating that he will focus on “special projects”.

In Pretoria yesterday, Phiyega pointed out that the adjustments were “not about individuals” and said she was still in consultation about the futures of her former deputies.

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