‘Top cop not above law’

2010-06-12 00:00

BOTH the Democratic Alliance and members of the South African Police Force (SAPF) have voiced concerns after allegations that the KZN provincial commissioner and her husband threatened a traffic officer at the weekend.

Provincial commissioner Mamunye Ngobeni allegedly threatened a traffic officer with her shoe after she and her husband were pulled over for speeding for the second time last Saturday night.

The Road Traffic Inspectorate (RTI) officer laid a charge of crimen injuria, but no suspect is named on official records.

Officials from the commissioner’s office stressed no charge had been laid against the commissioner herself, and said Ngobeni was reacting to threatening behaviour from the officer. Ngobeni’s office promised to provide a full account of the incident, but then changed its mind, amid allegations that a gag order has been issued over the incident.

“Neither the commissioner nor her husband is above the law, no matter what the circumstance may be,” said the DA’s John Steenhuisen.

“And by pulling them over for travelling at excessive speed, the RTI officer was doing her job. This investigation needs to be handled speedily and without favouritism or prejudice,” he added.

“The commissioner needs to be forthcoming about the events of that night, and we need to hear the complainant’s version too in an open forum; one that is not shielded from the public.”

Steenhuisen stressed that, regardless of what happened that night, the commissioner’s behaviour was unacceptable. “As the provincial commissioner she, of all people, should know the proper procedures to deal with issues like these.”

The DA called on the Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD) to conduct a thorough investigation.

While opposition groups call for complete transparency, the SAPF is remaining mum on the issue.

Some members said they believe the order to be silent is a futile attempt to have the incident swept under the carpet.

Police sources confirmed the altercation was disturbing officers who should admire Ngobeni’s example.

They said they, as law enforcement officials, held the law above all else and would not be swayed by personal politics in the force.

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