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MPs express grave concerns over SAPS-Ipid stand-off

The ANC in Parliament says Ipid’s investigation into alleged wrongdoing by Khomotso Phahlane must be respected and that witnesses should co-operate.

FILE: Acting National Police Commissioner Lieutenant-General Khomotso Pahlane. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

PARLIAMENT - The African National Congress (ANC) in Parliament says police watchdog body, Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid)’s investigation into alleged wrongdoing by acting National Police Commissioner Khomotso Phahlane must be respected and that witnesses should cooperate.

SA Police Service (SAPS) and Ipid levelled accusations and counter-allegations against each other when they appeared together before Parliament’s Police Oversight Committee for the first time on Tuesday.

Police Minister Fikile Mbalula is now set to be summoned by the committee after MPs across all parties expressed grave concern with the continuing stand-off.

Ipid is calling for Phahlane to be suspended or put on leave until the investigation is concluded.

ANC MP Leonard Ramatlakane says Mbalula should step in urgently.

He says the fact that these two entities are investigating each other or alleged to be interfering with witnesses in ongoing investigations is unacceptable and a grave cause for concern.

Ramatlakane, acting chair of the ANC’s study group on police, says it’s “very worrying” that the SAPS have established what seems to be a counter-investigative unit on the basis of Ipid’s alleged relationship with private investigator Paul O’Sullivan, and equally concerning that a private citizen appears to be involved in Ipid’s investigation.

He says this should come to an end.

The Democratic Alliance’s Marius Redelinghuys says: “This is an absolutely unprecedented and absurd situation that we’re finding ourselves in. To have two organs of state both tasked with important constitutional mandates literally at one another’s throats in a public forum like this.”

Phahlane says he’s willing to cooperate with Ipid’s probe into the allegations against him, but claimed on Tuesday Ipid had been “captured” by O’Sullivan, the complainant in the case.

Ipid head Robert McBride told the committee on Tuesday O’Sullivan’s involvement against the case was “miniscule”.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)

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