Phiyega too inexperienced - ISS

The ISS’ Johan Burger says police chief Riah Phiyega’s inexperience is to blame for the blunder.

National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega. Picture: EWN

CAPE TOWN - National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega's inexperience is to blame for her latest blunder, senior researcher at the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) Professor Johan Burger said on Monday.

On Saturday, Phiyega announced Bethuel Zuma's appointment as new Gauteng police commissioner, but a few hours later withdrew it after it emerged he is facing criminal charges.

Zuma was reportedly arrested in Pietermaritzburg in September 2008 for alleged drunk driving, not stopping at a roadblock and refusing to allow traffic officials to test the level of alcohol in his blood.

He appeared in court shortly after his arrest and since then, the case has been withdrawn and reinstated on several occasions.

Burger told the Midday Report that Phiyega should have known better.

"She knows far too little about the functioning of the police service. She should have known that all criminal investigations against police officers and not just convictions are reported. Even disciplinary actions are reported."

He said all files were kept at the head office.

"Instead of just relying on the declaration of the particular individual, she should have made certain that she had access to that file. If this record keeping is up to the standard that it should be, then she should have known that there are these cases pending against him."

However, Burger admitted that Phiyega may have been set up as she was still new in the post.

"It's possible, but I doubt it. I think this is just an example of her inexperience. All experienced police officers are aware of these systems and they would have certainly made use of that.

"She was, in my view, completely unaware of the fact that there are alternative ways and means of checking on these individuals."

Burger added that overall the South African Police Service (SAPS) has a lot of inexperienced personnel.

Phiyega maintains she is not embarrassed about her appointment.