Police Minister Nathi Nhleko asked on Wednesday how people could determine that someone could not afford their house with their salary, just by looking at it.
He was briefing Parliament's police committee for the last time this year on a variety of issues, when he mentioned "strange things" happening in the police.
This included an investigation by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) into how acting police commissioner General Khomotso Phahlane had managed to afford a house apparently worth about R8m. He had it built in the Sable Hills Waterfront Estate, north of Pretoria, between 2011 and 2012.
Nhleko said claims that Phahlane could not afford the house and, therefore, must have paid for it using illegal means, were ludicrous.
"That's a very subjective way of dealing with issues. There has got to be a scientific way to deal with whether the house that you own, you built it through proceeds of crime. They can't just look at your place and decide, you must have stolen money to buy your property," he said.
The committee had received a report from Phahlane containing information about his house, but it would only be discussed next year, the chairperson said.
Nhleko said many people in the committee had houses, which they had either bought or had built. He said the cost of a house and its value were two different things.
"If your house is worth R10m, is it true that you must have forked out R10m? That's very problematic for me," Nhleko told the committee.
In November, News24 reported that, according to property records, Phahlane and his wife Beauty Ntombizodwa had paid R850 000 in 2010 for a large erf in the upmarket Sable Hills estate.
Building the house, according to forensic investigator Paul O'Sullivan, cost between R4.7m and R5.8m.
Two bonds were registered with Nedbank on the property, according to the property records.
Phahlane is facing a charge of defeating the ends of justice for allegedly contacting witnesses when he learnt that IPID was looking into his property.