Top cop quits over ‘fake matric’, claims innocence

2013-09-27 00:00

HIGH-RANKING policeman Colonel Vincent Mdunge, who is accused of faking his matric certificate, says he is innocent and has acquired legal help to prove it.

“I still remain innocent. I have committed no crime. It was in the public’s interest and that of SAPS [for me] to step down. [The police’s] integrity remained critical,” he said.

Mdunge said he had assembled a legal team that would “decisively deal with the matter” and that his legal representation had sent a letter to the provincial commissioner’s office that he would dispute the allegation.

He did not disclose who was representing him.

Mdunge suddenly resigned on Wednesday after allegations surfaced that his matric certificate was in fact fake.

Democratic Alliance shadow minister for police Dianne Kohler Barnard called it “shocking” that the police did not verify qualifications before employing staff.

“He must be arrested. How does he appear as the spokesman of the police? What he did is criminal,” said Kohler Barnard.

She said the SA Police Service (SAPS) “have dropped the standards” significantly.

“Already we know there are 1 500 police officers on duty with criminal records. One was as highly placed as brigadier-general, the highest rank you can get under these apartheid-era titles,” said Kohler Barnard.

In August it was announced at Parliament’s police portfolio committee several high-ranking police officials were on a list of officers with criminal records. An audit, which only covered the period prior to January 2010, found 1 448 officers had criminal offences, SAPS acting deputy national commissioner for human resource development Nkrumah Mazibuko told MPs.

“Yesterday I put questions to the national minister of police [Nathi Mthethwa] to check the validity of all the driver’s licences. We have reason to believe that officers are obtaining their licenses fraudulently,” said Kohler Barnard.

Senior provincial spokesperson Colonel Jay Naicker confirmed that allegations had surfaced that the matric certificate of Mdunge, who is based in the provincial headquarters, was not valid. He said a senior officer has been appointed to investigate the allegations.

“[Mdunge] … has since placed notice with the provincial commissioner to resign from the SAPS and his resignation was accepted. At this stage we cannot comment further on the investigation due to pending criminal investigation which may follow.”

The IFP’s Velaphi Ndlovu called on national police commissioner Riah Phiyega to ensure Mdunge is prosecuted. “Those senior to him who knew that Mdunge had no formal qualification must also be identified and disciplined. Mdunge spoke about crime on a daily basis, while hiding his lack of a matric certificate. As a police officer he was supposed to lead by example, now he must face the consequences,” said Ndlovu.

He said a process of qualification verification is long overdue.

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