DA offers ‘medal earner’ Phiyega a ‘patriotic’ award

2014-10-24 15:59

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The Democratic Alliance has offered National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega an award for patriotism on condition that she step down from her position.

“If she agrees to resign, we will provide her with a DA-sponsored patriotic duty award,” spokesperson Dianne Kohler Barnard said today.

Police spokesperson Lieutenant-General Solomon Makgale referred comment on the matter to the police ministry.

In a sarcastic statement, Kohler Barnard “congratulated” Phiyega on four medals she wore on National Police Remembrance Day on September 29.

The DA queried what the accolades were for in written parliamentary questions last month.

Phiyega holds a 10-year commemoration award.

“The DA congratulates Commissioner Phiyega for the amazing feat of earning this medal in her two years of service.”

Kohler Barnard also had a dig at former police minister Nathi Mthethwa, who awarded the medals to Phiyega, and applauded his “excellent judgment” in granting her a gold medal for outstanding service.

“With crime rates on the rise, Marikana, police brutality, mall robberies escalating out of control, thousands of convicted criminals in the SAPS and many other issues still outstanding, one can clearly see how the commissioner’s ‘excellent service’ has affected the SAPS.”

Kohler Barnard also commented on Phiyega’s Soccer World Cup 2010 support award.

“This is arguably Riah Phiyega’s greatest achievement. It is incredible that she was able to earn this award given that the World Cup took place a full two years before the commissioner even joined the police.”

The fourth medal was for the 11 police agencies that were amalgamated into one in 1994.

“This is extremely well done given that this, too, far preceded her time at the SAPS by 18 years,” Kohler Barnard said.

The Freedom Front Plus took a more serious tone in its reaction to Phiyega’s medals.

“Phiyega should give the medals back if she attaches any value to the loyal and outstanding service of members of the police,” FF Plus spokesperson on police, Pieter Groenewald, said.

He condemned the awarding of the medals to Phiyega as “not only an embarrassment for the police, but also an embarrassment for the whole of South Africa”.

According to the South African Police Service’s website, the gold medal for outstanding service is one of the medals awarded in recognition of “deeds of bravery or outstanding/meritorious services”.

The gold medal is reserved for police holding the rank of assistant commissioner or higher.

The South African Policing Union also expressed dismay at Phiyega’s decorations.

“The medals awarded to Ms Phiyega ... belong to others, not her,” general secretary Oscar Skommere said.

“The only medal that belongs to the national police commissioner is the ‘mampara’ as she has brought shame to the SAPS since she took office in 2012.”

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