Riah Phiyega to purge crooked cops

2013-06-30 14:00

National commissioner’s instruction contained in confidential letter to ministry, top echelons.

National police commissioner ­General Riah Phiyega has ordered a purge of convicted criminals from the SA Police Service (SAPS). Phiyega’s instruction is ­contained in a confidential letter to the ministry of police, top generals and senior commanders, and ­includes an admission that the ­police service is populated with murderers, rapists, fraudsters and other offenders.

And, she revealed, an audit has found that there are cops behind bars who are still drawing their monthly salaries.

Gauteng police commissioner General Mzwandile Petros recently said that 1?000 police officers have been arrested for crime in the past three years in the province alone.

Beyond that, police are ­tight-lipped about the details of the ­in-depth audit that prompted Phiyega’s memo.

In the letter, dated May 29 2013, Phiyega reveals: “The findings of the audit revealed an unpleasant picture of employees with criminal convictions and who have criminal cases pending against them.”

Phiyega’s letter follows an announcement by Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa during his budget speech last month that he had ­tasked police management two ­years ago to do the audit.

In her letter, Phiyega orders commanders to keep a register of charged and convicted police officers and said management “has ­taken a stance to deal with members who have criminal convictions and are still in the service”.

Police regulations stipulate that a person who applies to be a police officer must have no previous ­convictions.

Candidates must have their fingerprints taken and be subjected to a background check.

Just last week, Phiyega dismissed a captain in the police’s beleaguered crime intelligence unit who was arrested and charged last month following an armed robbery in Sasolburg, Free State. It was reported three weeks ago that Captain Morris Tshabalala was being investigated for his alleged role in seven heists in which more than R30?million was stolen.

He had a high security clearance and his job, among other things, ­included assessing threats against the president and the state. It has emerged during his bail ­application that Tshabalala was in 1996 sentenced to 10 years in ­prison for robbery.

He was also convicted for illegal possession of a firearm and ­ammunition.

He spent only two weeks in prison before he lodged an appeal, and was apparently released on bail. He then abandoned his appeal and disappeared. The North Gauteng High Court issued a warrant for his arrest in May 1998.

Instead of doing prison time, he applied and was appointed to the SAPS in 2002, where he was seen as a rising star, nicknamed “Captain KGB”.

The police are tight-lipped about the audit, except to confirm it and that it is “almost finalised”.

Police spokesperson Brigadier Phuti Setati would not say how many convicted murderers, ­rapists or robbers wear a blue uniform or how they were ­appointed.

But he confirmed action against members could follow the findings of the audit.

Phiyega said: “SAPS management has ­taken a stance to deal with members who have criminal convictions and are still in the service. The SAPS is under no obligation to keep such members in its employment.”

She also “noted with concern” that there were officers who had been criminally charged, appeared in court but failed to inform their commanders.

“Another disturbing trend is that of commanders who manufacture false criminal cases or make false allegations of misconduct against subordinates to disadvantage and deprive them of promotion,” she said. SA Police Union secretary-general Oscar?Skommere said he was shocked at the alarming rate of police officers facing criminal charges.

“To say close to 500 members are facing (serious) charges?.?.?.?symbolises that we are heading for a crisis,” he said, adding that the police’s recruitment policy needed to be urgently reviewed.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.