KZN top cop is back

2017-01-04 09:37
Lieutenant-General Mmamonnye Ngobeni.

Lieutenant-General Mmamonnye Ngobeni. (File)

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She may not have an official welcome there, but KwaZulu-Natal’s top cop, Lieutenant-General Mmamonnye Ngobeni is back at work and determined to do her job.

Ngobeni said she was “happy” to be starting the new year by returning to work following a successful court ruling on Tuesday, which overturned her suspension after allegations of gross misconduct were made against her.

The KZN police commissioner lodged an application with the Durban high court to return to work, following her suspension in May last year, when she had been served with a formal letter of suspension from the office of the acting national police commissioner, Kgomotso ­Phahlane.

However, the South African Police Service on Tuesday said in a statement the police would be appealing the decision made by the court.

“The South African Police Service is appealing the whole of the judgment and order,” police spokesperson Brigadier Sally de Beer said in the statement.

She said Ngobeni’s suspension will continue, pending the finalisation of the appeal process.

“Her attorney will be requested to inform his client not to return to work,” she said.

De Beer said the “current dispute” arose as a result of a decision taken by acting national police commissioner Phahlane, after he was appointed, to suspend Ngobeni and to convene a misconduct board of inquiry.

The board was established in relation to allegations of “gross misconduct” dating back to 2010.

De Beer said Ngobeni challenged Phahlane’s authority to convene the board of inquiry.

She said the ongoing legal dispute is based on points of law and the interpretation of certain sections of the South African Police Service Act and should not be “construed as a personal or malicious vendetta against an individual”.

De Beer said police management was “of the opinion” that allegations made should be fully investigated in a transparent and accountable manner.

“In the meantime, Major-General P.B. Langa will continue to perform duties as the acting provincial commissioner in KwaZulu-Natal,” said De Beer.

“He is to be commended on his firm leadership in the province, which has yielded outstanding successes in the fight against crime over the festive season.”

Ngobeni, however, returned to work on Tuesday almost immediately after the successful court ruling and said she was “very happy” to be back at work.

“I am very happy. I want to work for the people of KwaZulu-Natal,” she said during a phonecall from The Witness on Tuesday afternoon.

“I have responsibilities and I am happy to work for the people of KwaZulu-Natal to serve and protect them.”

Ngobeni added that being back at work was “a good start to 2017”.

Ngobeni’s lawyer, ­Ravindra Maniklall, said yesterday that the top cop was “already at work” yesterday after the ruling as she will “not waste the taxpayers’ money”.

When asked about the police statement that said he would be “requested to inform his client not to return to work”, Maniklall said he had not spoken with the state attorneys.

Ngobeni's suspension is believed to be based on ­allegations that wealthy Durban businessman Thoshan Panday paid approximately R30 000 for a birthday party for Ngobeni’s husband, Major-General Lucas Ngobeni.

It was alleged that Panday, who has also been linked to President Jacob Zuma, was then favoured by Ngobeni to obtain a police ­accommodation contract during the 2010 ­Soccer World Cup. It is alleged that Panday inflated prices and pocketed about R60 million through this contract. The charges against Panday and Ngobeni were later withdrawn due to a lack of evidence.

Read more on:    saps  |  pietermaritzburg

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