Durban - Police will appeal the lifting of KwaZulu-Natal police commissioner Mmamonnye Ngobeni’s suspension, her lawyer said on Wednesday.
“Initially they said they respected the decision of the court, but then they appeared to have a change of heart and decided to appeal the matter,” Ravendra Maniklall said.
“We have opposed this and now we are waiting for a date for it to be argued.”
Maniklall said until the appeal process was finalised, the order that Ngobeni’s suspension be set aside would be held in abeyance.
National police spokesperson Mashadi Selepe would not comment on whether Ngobeni was back in office.
“I am not saying she is there, but I am not saying she is not,” she said on Tuesday.
“She holds the rank and has the mandate to be the provincial commissioner until her term ends.”
The Durban High Court ruled on Wednesday last week that acting national police commissioner Lieutenant-General Khomotso Phahlane did not have the powers to establish a panel to test her fitness for office.
"It's clear from the provision of Section 207 (2) of the Constitution that the national police commissioner does not have the untrammelled powers to investigate and 'discipline' the provincial commissioner," Judge Nkosinathi Chili said in his judgment.
Establishing a board of inquiry without following the proper procedure was "premature, unlawful and falls to be set aside".
Her suspension, in effect since May, related to her links to Durban businessman Thoshan Panday and his associates. They reportedly paid nearly R20 000 for her husband, Brigadier Lucas Ngobeni's birthday party in 2010.
The bash, thrown by Panday, came at a time when he was a suspect in a fraud investigation. The National Prosecuting Authority declined to prosecute her.
Panday had allegedly secured police procurement contracts and tenders worth millions.
In the lead-up to the 2010 FIFA World Cup, police discovered a startling rise in the cost of accommodation to deploy officers on operations around the province.
They found an allegedly corrupt relationship between senior officers in the supply chain management unit and a Durban businessman who was banking millions to secure accommodation as a broker or middleman.
Investigating officers uncovered what they believed to be links to the upper echelons of the provincial police.
A R1.93m draft forensic audit, paid for by the State, revealed how Panday plied key police figures, including Ngobeni, with gifts.
Ngobeni could not immediately be reached for comment.