'Scheme to discredit me': Mkhwanazi

By Drum Digital
08 June 2012

There is an ongoing conspiracy by "certain individuals" to unsettle the management of the SA Police Service, acting national police commissioner Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi said on Thursday.

He was addressing journalists in Pretoria West in response to allegations published in The Star newspaper relating to the mismanagement of the Secret Service Account.

"I already know of a group of individuals that are planning things. I'm aware of that and I will take those matters to the relevant authorities," he said.

"There are a lot of things that these people are doing just to discredit this management of the SAPS. It's a sad story for thousands of police officers that dedicate their lives every single day."

The Star newspaper reported that Mkhwanazi allowed the use of R35m from the Secret Service Account for the purchase of cars for other police units.

According to the report, the allegations were contained in a report which would be handed to Parliament's joint standing committee on intelligence next week.

"The SAPS management and the crime intelligence division in particular are highly disturbed by the reports reflected in some newspapers reporting untrue reports for reasons unknown to me," said Mkhwanazi.

"It is important to note and record that a total of 149 vehicles in the region of R35m were bought in the last quarter of the financial year 2011/12 for the distribution of crime intelligence activities in all nine provinces," he said.

"More importantly, not a single of these 149 newly-procured vehicles were moved to another division within the SAPS as suggested in the article.

"I want to assure everybody, the whole of South African, that there was no under-expenditure or over-expenditure when it comes to the [crime intelligence] budget," he said.

Mkhwanazi said he had withdrawn vehicles from certain senior managers in the police who were in possession of vehicles bought for use by the crime intelligence division.

"Those cars are more than five. I don't know which five the newspaper is talking about, but I am not going to tell you how many they are," he said.

"This was indeed well within responsibility as the accounting officer, which in this case is the acting national commissioner of the SAPS," said Mkhwanazi.

He said he was ready for any investigation into the allegations.

"I would welcome the Public Protector, Parliament the United Nations or anyone to investigate me. They are all welcome, I will put the cards on the table," he said.

The Democratic Alliance has called on the Auditor General to investigate the allegations.

DA MP Dianne Kohler-Barnard said it was suspicious that allegations of a direct contravention of the Secret Service Act had emerged after Mkhwanazi suspended former crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli.

"The timing of the revelations is curious, considering the recent bold actions by Mkhwanazi and the ongoing factional battles within crime intelligence and the broader police service," she said.

"Mkhwanazi appears to have fallen out of favour with President [Jacob] Zuma and Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa after he suspended Richard Mdluli, in apparent defiance of the executive's wishes." Mkhwanazi refused to be drawn into commenting on the recent developments relating to Mdluli.

Zuma appointed Mkhwanazi as acting police commissioner on October 24 after he suspended Bheki Cele pending the outcome of an investigation into "unlawful" police lease agreements.

Mkhwanazi joined the police force in 1993 and was deployed in the public order policing unit. He was then appointed to the special task force. He was promoted to head of the task force in 2005 and was given the rank of major general.

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