Nhleko tight-lipped on Phiyega's fate

2015-09-02 13:05
National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega. (Deaan Vivier, Foto24)

National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega. (Deaan Vivier, Foto24) (Deaan Vivier/Foto24)

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Parliament – Police Minister Nathi Nlheko would not be drawn into questions on Wednesday over the fate of national police commissioner Riah Phiyega and other leaders.

"I hear the concerns of the chair and other members on the change of leadership," he told Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Police.

"... I can’t give you a direct response as to what is it that is going to happen and when precisely, because legislatively, it is crafted in such a manner that the issue has to be decided somewhere else."

He was responding during a presentation on the police’s transformation plan following recommendations by the Farlam Commission.

Committee chairperson Francois Beukman welcomed his presentation and said there clearly needed to be new leadership to drive the project.

Democratic Alliance MP Dianne Kohler Barnard praised Nhleko for "the first truly professional" presentation to come from the police ministry.

She said she remained sceptical as to whether the plan would be successfully implemented.

Addressing "the elephant in the room", she had then asked whether Phiyega had been suspended pending the outcome of an inquiry.

'Stumbling block'

The Presidency recently announced that an inquiry had been instituted into allegations of misconduct and/or whether Phiyega was fit to hold office.

This followed recommendations made by the Marikana Commission of Inquiry, headed by retired judge Ian Farlam, who probed the August 2012 shooting of miners at the Marikana Platinum Mine in Lonmin which left 44 people dead during strike-related unrest.

Kohler Barnard said her concern was that they would have to wait for up to two years for the inquiry outcome, by which time Phiyega’s contract would have expired.

She said this could be a "stumbling block" to Nhleko's transformation plan.

Speaking about change of leadership in general, Nhleko said it would be important to deal with disjunctures or anomalies in ranks and skills.

“If you come across a situation where an engineer is a receptionist, there is something wrong with that.”

He said the change management programme would tap into the knowledge and expertise of officers within the police service.

Read more on:    riah phiyega  |  nathi nhleko  |  cape town  |  marikana inquiry  |  parliament 2015

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