Riah Phiyega fears being forced out

2014-12-07 07:00

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A series of explosive letters ­between Police Minister Nathi Nhleko and national ­police commissioner Riah Phiyega indicate that the two are at war.

This has resulted in Phiyega writing to President Jacob Zuma to ask him to intervene in the feud triggered by a probe the minister is conducting into the SA Police Service (SAPS).

Phiyega is worried that the investigation is a precursor to a process to turf her out of her office.

Two senior officers sympathetic to Nhleko claim that President Zuma had asked Phiyega to step down at a meeting at his Mahlamba ­Ndlopfu residence in Pretoria a few weeks ago, but City Press could not confirm this.

Nhleko announced in October that the investigation – to be conducted by a special committee of private individuals who are experts in legal and security matters, and known as the reference group – would look into issues of ­administration, promotions, salary increases, working conditions in the police, appointments, dismissals, disciplinary and criminal proceedings involving senior management.

But Phiyega is opposed to the probe, which she sees as encroaching on her administrative responsibilities. She has written to Nhleko ­informing him that she will not cooperate with it. She has also written to President Zuma to complain about it.

In a letter responding to Nhleko, Phiyega pointed out that any concerns raised with him involving how the police force is run should have been brought to her first.

Three sources who spoke to City Press said the relationship between the police minister and the national police commissioner had irretrievably broken down.

In October the two were allegedly involved in a three-hour screaming match at the police training camp in Pretoria West.

This was after Phiyega found out about Nhleko’s intention to investigate her. Phiyega is said to have told the minister she did not report to him as she was appointed by the president.

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