SAPS had fair reason to dismiss Khomotso Phahlane, says bargaining council

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Former SAPS head Khomotso Phahlane. Picture: Sarel van der Walt
Former SAPS head Khomotso Phahlane. Picture: Sarel van der Walt
  • Former acting national police commissioner General Khomotso Phahlane has lost a bid challenging his dismissal from SAPS.
  • Phahlane was dismissed in July 2020. 
  • The Safety and Security Sectoral Bargaining Council said Phahlane 'sought to apportion blame to everyone else but himself'.

Former acting national police commissioner General Khomotso Phahlane has lost another bid challenging his dismissal from the police.

The Safety and Security Sectoral Bargaining Council (SSSBC) said Phahlane had a greater responsibility to ensure that SAPS' finances and assets were protected, but he failed to do so. 

Commissioner Joyce Nkopane said:

Having considered the evidence in this matter and all other factors, I find that dismissal was an appropriate sanction in the circumstances. Accordingly, the respondent had a fair reason to dismiss the applicant.

Phahlane was dismissed over a 2014 contract with Ethemba Forensic Group for the purchase of panoramic cameras.

After Ethemba was awarded the contract - the unsuccessful bidder Forensic Data Analysts (FDA) disputed the award, saying Ethemba's product did not comply with specifications. 

Phahlane, who headed the forensic services division, recommended that the contract issued to Ethemba be withdrawn, "... since the bid was misleading and not compliant with the specifications". 

According to City Press, Ethemba did not deliver the cameras because supply chain management had accepted its bid with incorrect specifications, and the forensic services division refused to pay.

Ethemba sued the SAPS when the purchase order was not forthcoming, resulting in the awarding of R24 million to Ethemba for breach of contract, the publication said.  

In her ruling, Nkopane said she found that SAPS had proven that Phahlane, "... intentionally caused the non-compliance in respect of the contract for the purchase of 360-degree panoramic cameras.

"The applicant refused to place orders as per the said agreement. He failed and or refused to provide and take any steps to mitigate and assist the other departments in ensuring that steps are taken to avoid litigation in this matter."

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Nkopane said the failure to act appropriately had resulted in an award being made against the SAPS to pay R24 494 080.65.

"The respondent [SAPS] did not derive any benefit for this expenditure," she said.

Nkopane also said Phahlane did not appreciate the wrongfulness of his conduct.

"In fact, the applicant sought to apportion blame to everyone else but himself," she said.

"The applicant did not show any remorse and in fact indicated that he would not have place[d] an order in the circumstances where there was a contract, which he did nothing to ensure that it was cancelled."

Phahlane was fired on 30 July after he was found guilty of elements of dishonesty. He then took the case to the Labour Court, seeking to reverse his dismissal.

The Labour Court dismissed his bid in August.

Judge Andre van Niekerk said the court did not have the jurisdiction to entertain Phahlane's claim for final relief.  

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