Shock at Ngobeni return

2014-12-17 00:00

THE five-year re-appointment of ­KwaZulu-Natal police commissioner Mmamonnye Ngobeni has the IFP and DA outraged.

Police spokesperson Solomon Makgale confirmed to The Witness Ngobeni’s re-appointment as KZN police comissioner and said the contract had been renewed for another five years.

The IFP’s leader in the KZN Legislature Blessed Gwala said the process for Ngobeni’s re-appointment was carried out solely by national police commissioner Riah Phiyega.

“The people of KZN have had ­Ngobeni’s named rammed down their throats. She is a failure and there is a huge cloud hanging over her head,” said a livid Gwala.

Gwala said he had only recently become aware of Ngobeni’s re-appointment after a sitting of the provincial legislature.

“We [IFP] called on the Premier through MEC for Community Safety, Willies Mchunu to explain how the commissioner is still in office when her contract had expired and the fact that she has failed to make KwaZulu-Natal a safe province,” he said.

Gwala said Mchunu had responded by brushing the question aside and told the IFP he had nothing to do with the contract.

DA national shadow minister of police Dianne Kohler Barnard said she was horrified that Ngobeni’s contract had been renewed.

She was not aware of the reappointment until contacted by The Witness.

“Time and time again, Phiyega makes these extraordinary decisions. Ngobeni should never have received the position in the first place,” she said.

She said Ngobeni had proved she was not capable and had still been appointed.

Barnard referred to the group of specialised detectives flown into KZN from Pretoria to investigate a case in Ngobeni’s district.

“The only thing Ngobeni has achieved is keeping Thoshen Panday out of jail.” (See text box.)

Gwala said the public should be “informed on what grounds and with what justification her contract was renewed”.

“General Riah Phiyega has a duty to tell us why she has imposed Ngobeni on us again,” said Gwala.

Ngobeni, contacted for comment yesterday, said she would not respond to the claims made by the IFP until later this week.

• chelsea.pieterse@witness.co.za

PROVINCIAL commissioner Mmamonnye Ngobeni has had a chequered reign.

Her complicated friendship with businessman Thoshan Panday, who forked out thousands of rands for her husband’s birthday party while he was facing a raft of corruption charges, has blighted her tenure.

Panday has since been cleared of all charges.

Stemming from this was the suspension of KZN Hawks head Johan Booysen, who had criminal charges against him set aside and was exonerated in an internal police disciplinary hearing.

Ngobeni came in for scathing criticism from advocate Nazeer Cassim, who chaired the hearing.

Evidence laid bare in Booysen’s hearing implicated Ngobeni in “corrupt practices”.

Police Colonel Vassen Soobramoney, who had conducted an investigation into allegations of multi-million rand procurement fraud, told how he was pushed out of the province.

During the course of the investigation, Ngobeni ordered that Booysen was to halt the probe, and even called him to a meeting with Panday and his legal counsel.

“Soobramoney’s evidence was clear. The provincial commissioner of police in KwaZulu-Natal, Lieutenant-General Ngobeni, as well as Colonel Madhoe and Panday were involved in corrupt practices resulting in large sums of money of the SAPS being unaccounted for.

“On his testimony, it was clear to me that Ngobeni caused him to be, literally speaking, orchestrated out of the province.”

Cassim said that Ngobeni’s conduct was “bizarre” and “made a mockery of ­policing”.

Cassim also highlighted that Ngobeni had avoided answering to allegations and failed to testify.

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