Police still waiting for acting intelligence boss's top secret certificate

2017-06-27 16:39
Acting national police commissioner Lesetja Mothiba. (Jan Gerber, News24)

Acting national police commissioner Lesetja Mothiba. (Jan Gerber, News24)

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Cape Town - Acting national police commissioner Lesetja Mothiba says the police have not yet received a copy of the top secret clearance certificate for new acting crime intelligence head General Pat Mokushane.

A South African Police Service (SAPS) delegation told MPs on Tuesday that the vetting and polygraph process had been completed, but Mothiba had not yet seen a copy of it.

Police portfolio committee chairperson Francois Beukman asked if SAPS should not have waited until "everything was in the file" before appointing Mokushane ten days ago on June 17.

"Honourable chairperson, I will agree I must have obtained the document itself," Mothiba admitted.

"When he was appointed, he literally [had just] become the boss of crime intelligence. But I was informed in Gauteng that there was nothing untoward in terms of his appointment.

"But I will agree, I should have gotten it in my hands."

ANC MPs Angelina Molebatsi and Livhuhani Mabija wanted to know how long it would take, and what would happen if his clearance was rejected.

"It doesn't take a long time. It was just because General Mokushane, with his appointment, he was very busy," Mothiba replied.

He did not answer the question on what would happen if it was rejected.

'So the clearance is granted'

Mokushane, who was making his first appearance as the new crime intelligence boss, then chipped in.

"The security clearance goes like this. There is a process of vetting, and the last part is a polygraph test. I have gone through all those stages."

The examiner would have alerted the officials if anything had tested false, but there were no indications, he said.

"So in simple terms the clearance is granted," he claimed.

He revealed this took place four years ago, and it was essentially a re-vetting process he was undergoing. A security clearance was valid for five years.

The previous clearance was therefore "still existing, it has not yet expired".

At the end of the meeting, Beukman said the appointment of any acting divisional manager had to be certified. A certificate was non-negotiable, and they would follow up at the next meeting.

Parliament goes on recess this week and only reconvenes in August.

City Press reported that Mokushane was declined the security clearance he requires to do his job, citing three senior sources.

Crime intelligence officers need the clearance to be allowed to view top secret documents containing highly sensitive information.

He also denied the "allegations in the media", including that his wife was his personal assistant.

"My wife, she is not a PA, she has been with crime intelligence head office for four years now, and is working in the technical support unit.

"None of those issues are true. I don't know where these allegations are coming from."

Crime intelligence unit gets overhaul

Mokushane and the delegation were in Parliament to update the committee on the "refocusing" of the crime intelligence unit.

Senior intelligence heads from head office will be redeployed to divisions and stations in all the provinces, in line with Police Minister Fikile Mbalula's directive in May to redirect resources towards crime intelligence.

Opposition MPs said the move looked good on the surface but expressed concerns that the process was being rushed, and dropped "like a bombshell".

DA MP Zak Mbhele wanted to know if any consultation, piloting or phasing had taken place. EFF MP Mhlongo said they should avoid "cut and paste" redeployments in the police.

Report back

Mokushane said the process was still at an informal stage, but that it was not a restructuring, only a "downscaling" or refocusing.

Mothiba assured the committee that HR was currently handling the process.

Head office personnel would not lose their ranks, and would be asked to volunteer, in due course, to which provinces they preferred to be deployed.

They would be placed at clusters and police stations with the highest incidents of crime.

All processes would be followed, and they would report to the committee in due course.

Ultimately, the move was positive, and it would allow intelligence personnel to gather information on the ground, Mothiba claimed.

Beukman said the committee noted Mothiba's promises, especially given the underperformance of crime intelligence in recent years, and they would be keeping an eye on the transition.

Read more on:    saps  |  lesetja mothiba  |  pat mokushane

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