Plan to support Phiyega 'like immaculate conception'

2015-10-16 19:48

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Cape Town - An emotional KwaZulu-Natal provincial police commissioner could not hold back tears as she faced a hostile grilling from Members of Parliament on Friday.

The controversial Lieutenant General Mmamonnye Ngobeni was summoned to face the Police Committee on Friday, to apologise for her part in a statement issued by the Board of Commissioners in August in support of suspended National Commissioner Riah Phiyega.

The board's collective statement expressed serious concern over what they saw as an unfair and negative attitude towards Phiyega.

In their statement, the commissioners said they had "noticed a tendency to reduce everything, especially negative issues relating to policing, to the person of the national commissioner, as if the SAPS is a one-person show".

Other members of the board faced the same treatment in August when they appeared in front of the committee, but Ngobeni could not attend due to study leave.

On Friday, it was her turn to apologise to the committee and the president, retract the statement and promise never to do it again.

But that was not enough for MPs, who wanted to know how a long-serving member of the South African Police Service could make such a mistake and whether she knew she was stepping into political territory by issuing the statement.

Wiping off tears, Ngobeni repeatedly apologised for her role in the issuing of the statement.

Crying

"I want to apologise on the basis that we never had any knowledge that we were entering political spaces. We have entered the terrain unknowingly."

African National Congress and Democratic Alliance MPs wanted to know what steps led to the issuing of the statements, and what discussions were had before that.

DA MP Zakhele Mbhele said they were not getting a clear picture of what happened during the meeting in in Magoebaskloof, Limpopo, where the statement was compiled.

"We got a scenario painted that I can only describe as the immaculate conception - no one knows where  [the plan] comes from."

When Ngobeni started crying, MPs said they understood she was emotional, but she had to account for her part.

ANC MP Phindile Mmola accused the commissioner of lying when she said she couldn't recall what led to the discussion about the statement.

Read more on:    parliament  |  saps  |  mmamonnye ngobeni  |  cape town

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