Cops want Phiyega gone

2015-11-13 12:35

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Pietermaritzburg - The South African Police Union’s provincial office wants national police Commissioner Riah Phiyega gone, in any way possible.

But there is little belief that her axing will have any short-term implications on policing in KwaZulu-Natal, which has been riddled with high-profile scandals for over six years.

Provincial secretary Nurse Mdletshe said they are actively campaigning for Phiyega to disappear off the policing landscape.

“It is our position that we do not want her to lead the police any longer. Any way that she is removed, we will support it,” said Mdletshe.

She characterised Phiyega’s tenure as “doing nothing” for policing in general and KZN in particular.

“Her leaving won’t affect this province at all. She has done nothing for this province,” said Mdletshe.

Police officer rights activist KZN Violence Monitor Mary de Haas said unless the state makes structural changes in how commissioners are selected, there will be little change in the police culture driven by “nepotism and cronyism”.

“There are still plenty of good officers in the police who have made careers out of being active in the service but they will continue to leave or feel despondent as long as good work and commitment are overlooked for political expediency,” said De Haas.

De Haas added the structural issues facing the police “go back over 20 years”.

“The appointment has always been political. The issue is that credible officers should have been identified years prior to lead the police today,” she said.

De Haas said the late criminally convicted commissioner Jackie Selebi was a “foolish man”, fired police commissioner Bheki Cele’s tenure was riddled with corruption, while Phiyega was a “political stooge”. “The police are fractured because of deployment to the extent the police are being targeted by gangs. They have poor crime intelligence which is being used to fight internal political battles,” said De Haas.

A ministerial reference group dealing with a host of concerns facing the police service, has laid the blame for most of the challenges in the department solely at the door Phiyega, who is currently suspended. Phiyega has been accused of perjury, fraud, misconduct and wasteful expenditure.

The police in KZN have been marred in internal battles since the disbanding the Cato Manor Organised Crime Unit led by Major-General Johan Booysen, whose unit was accused of performing extrajudicial killings against supposed wanted criminals. This has subsequently led his relationship with provincial police commissioner Lieutenant-General Mmamonnye Ngobeni being permanently fractured.

Ngobeni was also fingered in having a corrupt relationship with Durban businessman Thoshan Panday, who was under investigation by Booysen for his role in an allegedly corrupt 2010 World Cup police accommodation scandal, while her husband Major-General Lucas Ngobeni, who leads a large cluster in Pietermaritzburg, was accused of allowing Panday to pay for his birthday party.

Read more on:    riah phiyega  |  pietermaritzburg  |  police  |  saps

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