Police welcome ruling on suspended KZN police commissioner

2018-03-15 22:53
Mmamonnye Ngobeni. (City Press, file)

Mmamonnye Ngobeni. (City Press, file)

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Durban - Suspended KwaZulu-Natal police commissioner Mmamonnye Ngobeni's woes are far from over, it seems.

The fate of the former provincial police boss, who lost a Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) bid to be reinstated, is now in the hands of national police commissioner General Khehla Sitole, who is still making up his mind on how to proceed.

According to national police spokesperson Brigadier Vish Naidoo, "the national commissioner has the prerogative to decide on how he is going to proceed on this matter and therefore he is hoping to apply his mind before making a decision".

READ: Suspended KZN commissioner Ngobeni loses SCA bid to be reinstated

Naidoo welcomed the court ruling, saying that it indicated that police management had acted correctly from the onset.

News24 previously reported that Ngobeni, who was appointed to the post in 2009, will now remain on suspension and will have to present herself to a board of inquiry which will adjudicate whether or not she is guilty of gross misconduct and should be dismissed.

Ngobeni has been suspended for almost two years over allegations that she had a "cosy relationship" with controversial Durban businessman Thoshan Panday.

It emerged that Panday had paid for a birthday party for Ngobeni's husband and fellow police officer Lucas Ngobeni. She denied this, alleging that, while Panday may have done some of the party planning through one of his businesses, she had paid for it.

Ngobeni's tenure has been clouded by allegations that she interfered in an investigation into Panday, who was suspected of fraud in a multi-million-rand SAPS tender procurement deal for police accommodation for the 2010 World Cup.

Following her suspension in May 2016, she brought a successful application in the KwaZulu-Natal High Court, setting aside both the establishment of a board of inquiry into the issue and her suspension.

However, the office of the national police commissioner appealed to the SCA.

The central issue in both the High Court and the SCA was whether then national commissioner Lieutenant General Khomotso Phahlane was within the law to establish a board of inquiry and suspend Ngobeni.

In the judgment on Thursday, penned by Appeal Judge Malcom Wallis, the court found that, if the national commissioner lost confidence in a provincial commissioner "that ought to be the subject of inquiry".

He said the national commissioner was responsible for the "for control over and management of the police service".

Provincial commissioners "perform their functions subject to the power of the national commissioner to exercise control over and manage the police service".

"There is no conceivable reason and none was suggested, why the institution of a board of inquiry into the national commissioner’s loss of confidence in a provincial commissioner should be constrained."

He added: " The national commissioner need not refer alleged misconduct, unfitness for office or incapacity on the part of a provincial commissioner to the executive council of the relevant province before appointing a board of inquiry into those matters."

Ngobeni was also ordered to pay costs of the appeal.

Four appeal court judges concurred.

Acting Deputy President of the SCA Jeremiah Shongwe, Appeal Judges Halima Saldulker and Rammaka Steven Mathopo, and Acting Judge of Appeal Clive Plasket concurred.

Read more on:    saps  |  mmamonnye ngobeni  |  durban  |  crime  |  courts

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