7 December 2016

South Africa: Minister Nhleko Has Confidence in Acting National Police Commissioner, Committee Hears

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The Minister of Police, Mr Nathi Nhleko, has told the Portfolio Committee on Police that he has confidence in the Acting National Commissioner Lieutenant-General Khomotso Phahlane.

The Minister was in Parliament to brief the Committee on recent matters in the public domain regarding the South African Police Service (SAPS) and the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) leadership.

Minister Nhleko said he found it puzzling that media reports linked the issue of a R30-million award to his partner to the issues relating to IPID head Mr Robert McBride.

Members of the Committee asked him about various issues, including the matters reported in the media, possible attempts to destabilise the country and the Claassen Commission report into the National Commissioner's fitness to hold office.

The Chairperson of the Committee, Mr Francois Beukman, asked if the Minister still had confidence in the Acting National Commissioner, Lieutenant-General Khomotso Phahlane.

Committee Member Mr Zak Mbhele wanted to know why the Minister had asked Parliament to remove IPID head Mr McBride if the process of establishing proof of the allegations against him had not been completed.

"The genesis of the irretrievably broken relationship with Mr McBride dates to when he wrote to you requesting intervention on the issue of [provincial police commissioner] Lieutenant-General [Mmamonnye] Ngobeni in KwaZulu-Natal. There was no response or action as requested by Mr McBride at the time. Why did you not act on that request and could that have been the genesis of the breakdown in relations?" Mr Mbhele asked.

He said the Minister's letter to the Speaker, since referred to the Committee, asked Parliament to rubber stamp the removal of Mr McBride.

Committee Member Mr Leonard Ramatlakane wanted to know if the Minister, following the reports on Mr Phahlane, had instituted internal processes to establish the veracity of the allegations of money laundering.

The Minister categorically denied any wrongdoing in the matter of the R30 million paid to his partner and told the Committee that he had referred the matter to the Public Protector for further investigation. He said coordinated and proper planning across portfolios in the police was needed if the police were to be successful.

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