I remain in the employ of SAPS, with full benefits, says Phahlane

Khomotso Phahlane. (Lindile Mbontsi, City Press)
Khomotso Phahlane. (Lindile Mbontsi, City Press)
  • Former acting national police commissioner Kgomotso Phahlane says he is still employed by the police.
  • This despite national police spokesperson Brigadier Vish Naidoo confirming to News24 Phahlane had been dismissed.
  • Phahlane says the case is before the Labour Court. 

Former acting national police commissioner General Kgomotso Phahlane says he remains in the employ of the police with full benefits.

This despite police spokesperson Brigadier Vish Naidoo telling News24 Phahlane had been dismissed.  

Earlier, national police commissioner General Khehla Sitole said Phahlane was subjected to a series of internal investigations, pending the criminal proceedings instituted by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID).

"Those series of internal investigations reached a final conclusion yesterday [Thursday]," Sitole added during a 2019/2020 national crime statistics media briefing.  

A signed letter dated 30 July, which News24 has seen, stated: "It is common knowledge that Lieutenant-General Phahlane has been found guilty of elements of dishonesty which justify a sanction of dismissal. Lieutenant-General Phahlane is therefore dismissed from the South African Police Service in line with Regulation 12[e] of the South African Police Service Regulation 2016."

The letter is signed by a Lieutenant-General J Riet. 

However, in a statement issued on Friday, Phahlane said: "It is recorded that General Phahlane was subjected to what he submits to have been an unfair and dishonest process by Lieutenant-General Riet of the South African Police Service.

READ | Justice has prevailed, says Paul O'Sullivan after Kgomotso Phahlane dismissal

"However, the sanction by General Riet, being one of the dismissals from the SAPS has not been confirmed by the national commissioner of the South African Police Service General [Khetla] Sitole, pending my application to have the findings of General Riet set aside by [the] Labour Court."

Phahlane said the case was taken up by the court on 31 July. 

He added the parties had agreed that the application to have the findings and proposed sanction imposed reviewed and set aside would be heard on 6 August.

"Pending the hearing, the commissioner of the South African Police Service General Sitole undertakes not to take any further action to confirm the dismissal in terms of the South African Police Service discipline regulation, specifically regulation 9[3] to [6]. 

He said: 

I therefore remain in the employ of the South African Police Service with full benefits.

Phahlane also said he "notes with dismay that forensic investigator Paul O'Sullivan had on Thursday 30 July 2020 at 18:26 in his possession a SAPS confidential document about the unconfirmed sanction imposed by General Riet".

"This led to the fake news that I was dismissed being disseminated in the press and on social media.

"It is to be noted that the so-called dismissal pertains to a contract awarded to SAPS to a certain company for the supply of cameras to the SAPS which I refused to execute as the specification of the SAPS were not met.

"Because of gross negligence of the responsible officers in the SAPS, the claim for damages by the contractor against the SAPS was not opposed at all after I was told to remain at home by the erstwhile minister of police [Fikile] Mbalula," he added.

ALSO READ | A look back into the case against Phahlane

Phahlane said the officers should be disciplined as the order to pay the contractor R24 million in April 2019 was made on arbitration against the police in his absence.

"I was in fact sitting at home and therefore wasn't able to assist the SAPS in defeating the action. It is clear that I was excluded from this process and [am] now being unfairly blamed for the consequences of the negligent conduct of current high-ranking officers in the SAPS.

He added:

The so-called disciplinary action against me is, in my opinion, nothing but a smokescreen to protect the said high-ranking officers and taken in extreme bad faith.

When News24 contacted Naidoo about Phahlane's insistence that he was still a police officer, he said: "Our position remains that this is an internal matter and we will not discuss the merits of this case in the public domain. To add to this, the national commissioner has been made aware of the hearing in court today and he is awaiting a briefing on this matter." 

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