Cape Town - Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has admitted he struggled to get former Police Minister Nathi Nhleko and Independent Police Investigative Directorate head Robert McBride to restore relations.
Ramaphosa, who is leader of government business, told MPs on Thursday that a change of guard at the police ministry may help long-standing tensions between IPID and the police.
"This matter indeed did arise, and we had to deal with it," he said in response to DA MP Zak Mbhele, who asked about the pair's relationship breakdown.
"As leader of government business, we tried to get the various parties together, and ensure there was peace between them, so they could execute their functions.
"It was a rather difficult matter to deal with. Many efforts were made to address it, and we tried to keep it out of newspaper headlines.
"As it turns out, there has been a change of guard, and we are hoping that this type of matter will not arise on an ongoing basis."
EFF MP Nazier Paulsen asked about allegations that Nhleko protected former Hawks personnel against IPID probes.
Ramaphosa said MPs should ask IPID themselves about such a serious matter, and as leader of government business he had no control over that aspect of the two institutions.
'Tell the president!'
Ramaphosa told the House that he does what he can to ensure ministers report to Parliament.
"Members must provide Parliament with regular reports of matters under their control.
"Each time the Cabinet meets, the leader of government business produces a report and flags problems."
"This matter I have dealt with quite extensively in this Parliament. If there is a lack of clarity on this matter, the Constitution is a document that should be studied closely."
"Tell the president!" DA MPs shouted.
DA leader Mmusi Maimane followed up with a supplementary question, asking how new police minister Fikile Mbalula will account for "flagrant abuse of state resources" when it came to VIP protection for ANC presidential front-runner Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
Speaker of Parliament Baleka Mbete said Ramaphosa did not have to answer the question, as it was radically different from the original question, following a point of order from ANC MP Bheki Radebe.
Ramaphosa did not bite but added that Maimane should take that question to the police portfolio committee.
He also said they were encouraged by the start Mbalula has made to his new portfolio, and invited MPs to "encourage" him to succeed in his task of clamping down on crime.