SAPS top brass grilled over officers doing 'conflicting' business with govt

2017-06-13 17:57
Acting national police commissioner Lesetja Mothiba. (Jan Gerber, News24)

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

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Cape Town - Top SAPS officials faced a barrage of questions from Scopa MPs over more than 100 members of the police force who were potentially doing conflicting business with the State.

The national heads of the SAPS told MPs on Tuesday that it did not have the capacity to adequately identify officers who failed to disclose additional remunerative work they may do with the State.

"Our system is not 100% fool proof. There are loopholes in the system," interim acting national police commissioner Lesetja Mothiba said.

Police officers must apply voluntarily for remunerative work on an annual basis in order to have private agreements with the State, SAPS HR head Bonang Mgwenya said.

Mgwenya admitted that the process was very slow, and they relied on the Auditor General and the Public Service Commission, as they did not have the capacity on their own.

"If members have not applied, then we will take action against them.

"Only after disciplinary proceedings start on the basis of misconduct [can] we throw the book at them."

The Auditor General in 2015/16 conducted an audit and found 103 "exceptions" of police officers and members who had potential conflicts of interests in business dealings with the State.

They were presented with a sample of 32 such individuals.

'Sly people taking advantage'

The largest private business deal with the State identified by the AG was by a warrant officer, S Mdoda, who had a R1.5m deal through Mzu Business enterprise.

Another involved a cleaner, Mr JW Mpanza, who apparently had a deal worth R115 468 through private firm Okaak Trading.

"Mr Mpanza does not even have an RDP house that he stays in. Some very sly people have used his name to make money out of the department," Scopa chairperson Themba Godi said.

"I find this very, very hard to believe that a cleaner would have the expertise [to run a company]."

Godi bemoaned that the people who were supposed to protect the law were the ones "behaving like criminals".

ANC MP Thapelo Chiloane wanted to know how much money had been recovered thus far from the police's internal investigations.

"We are in a process of verification and confirmation. It is dependent on other departments. We are not able to finalise the cases, because we still require information," Mgwenya said.

IFP MP Mkuleko Hlengwa said there was an "implosion" at the heart of the SAPS.

"How are we going to pursue other criminals if SAPS themselves, in house, they are in these kinds of shambles.

"What do you expect from the guy at the door if the guy at the top is implicated in this?"

'We have not done well'

After being pressed again by EFF MP Mente, Mothiba eventually conceded.

"We have not done well with these investigations. We will go back and fast track and have these investigations finalised as soon as possible."

ANC MP Nyami Booi said they should consider writing to police Minister Fikile Mbalula to take a look at the auditor general's report, and to talk with the Public Service Commission.

Public Service Commission head Sellinah Nkosi told the committee it had sent letters identifying members of the police service who had potential conflicts of interest, but they were ignored by the police ministry over the last three years.

"This shows a lack of political commitment in the fight against corruption and disregard for the Public Service Commission as a Chapter 10 institution," Godi said later in a statement, expressing his "shock".

Mothiba said he will compile a report before the end of the month to ensure all investigations were completed, and report back to the committee.

Read more on:    saps  |  lesetja mothiba

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