Police commissioners in hot water over support for Phiyega

2015-08-05 14:31
National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega.

National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega. (Deaan Vivier/Foto24)

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The provincial police commissioners will be hauled over the coals by Parliament’s portfolio committee for police over the public support they have expressed for Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega. 

The parliamentary portfolio committee on police today condemned a statement of support for Phiyega that was issued by the board of provincial commissioners last week, saying police management was getting involved in politicking instead of fighting crime. 

The committee’s chairperson, Francois Beukman, said the statement was “not appropriate” and said the commissioners would have to appear before the committee next week Wednesday to explain their behaviour. 

In the statement the board of police commissioners said they were concerned about the “prevailing unfair and largely negative attitude” towards Phiyega. 

The statement was released following a decision from President Jacob Zuma to ask Phiyega questions after Judge Ian Farlam, in his report on the Marikana massacre, suggested that there should be an investigation into Phiyega’s fitness to hold office. 

“This is a serious issue ... we do not believe it is proper for serving members of the police management to come with statements of support [for Phiyega] that may be construed as influencing the process and that’s improper,” Beukman told Netwerk24. 

Beukman’s proposal was endorsed by all political parties represented in the committee. 

The ANC’s Angelina Molebatsi said the statement was uncalled for and was “clearly an attempt to undermine the process that the president started”. 

Freedom Front Plus MP Pieter Groenewald said the statement was more proof that Phiyega was not fit for the top-cop position. 

“Instead of focusing on the prevention and combating of crime they became involved in politics. It goes to the core of the problem [in the police],” Groenewald said. 

Dianne Kohler Barnard, Democratic Alliance spokesperson for police, said they supported the process “wholeheartedly”. 

“I was astounded at the blatant attempt to influence the process by the provincial commissioners, nearly all of whom have been appointed by current police commissioner. They owe her their jobs.” 

The commissioners were expected to appear before the committee next Wednesday to explain their behaviour. 

Last week, Phiyega just made the Zuma’s deadline to submit comments about her suitability for the position. The president is currently considering them.

Read more on:    police  |  francois beukman  |  riah phiyega  |  parliament

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