Police commissioner confident charges against her ‘will not stick’

Riah Phiyega
Riah Phiyega

Allegations of defeating the ends of justice against national police commissioner Riah Phiyega “will not stick”, she said on Friday.

“You can try as much as you like, but you will not succeed. No mud thrown at me will stick,” she said in a statement on Friday morning in response to a report in The Star newspaper.

“I remain determined to ensure that nothing, absolutely nothing, deters me and my leadership team from the new journey of rebuilding SAPS [SA Police Service], especially the crime intelligence division.”

The Star reported on Friday that Phiyega allegedly tipped off a senior police officer of a crime intelligence investigation against him into allegations that he had accepted a bribe from a criminal.

But Phiyega denied tipping off the officer, saying he had become aware of the investigation after the opposition Democratic Alliance asked a question about it in Parliament.

Also, Phiyega said it was “interesting” that the allegations against her surfaced from “faceless people” shortly after her decision to put former acting crime intelligence boss Maj-Gen Chris Ngcobo on special leave.

Ngcobo was this week placed on special leave after a vetting process allegedly found discrepancies in his qualifications.

Phiyega said she was not formally informed of the case of defeating the ends of justice opened against her but that she was aware of the allegations.

The allegations were from people who wanted to “discredit” her, Phiyega’s office said in the statement.

“Although general Phiyega does not expect her colleagues to behave in such an underhanded manner whereby they concoct a story and then open a case against her, it however, comes as no surprise given some of the mischievous activities conducted by crime intelligence in the past.

“It is clear that this is a lame attempt by certain individuals within crime intelligence to discredit her and derail the process of flushing out those within the SAPS who have no integrity and have no interest in taking the SAPS forward,” the statement read.

Phiyega placed Ngcobo on special leave on Monday, instructing that criminal investigations and disciplinary action against him be initiated.

Maj-Gen Bongiwe Zulu has assumed Ngcobo’s role until further notice.

The Star, quoting “highly placed sources”, said Ngcobo instructed crime intelligence officers to open the case against Phiyega on October 19.

Explaining the alleged tip-off she gave, Phiyega said a question was received in Parliament from the DA as to whether there was an investigation into a bribery matter against a certain provincial commissioner.

During the process of gathering information to enable the police department to prepare a response, the DA enquiry ended up in the provincial commissioner’s office after passing through various officials.

At that point the commissioner called Phiyega to ask about the investigation so it could not be argued that she alerted the commissioner about the investigation, her office said.

“Simply put, the national commissioner committed no crime,” the statement read. – Sapa