Phiyega’s office to intervene in CPF oversight role saga

The Gauteng police head issued a directive preventing CPFs from conducting any oversight at police stations.

FILE: National Commissioner of Police Riah Phiyega (R) with Gauteng police commissioner Lesetja Mothiba (L). Picture: Gia Nicolaides/EWN. "

JOHANNESBURG - National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega's office has confirmed it will meet with Gauteng's Community Safety Department to discuss what's been described as a huge misunderstanding in relation to the Community Policing Forum (CPF)'s oversight role.

Gauteng Police Commissioner Lieutenant General Lesetja Mothiba issued a directive that CPFs will not be permitted to conduct any oversight at police stations until he has sought clarity from the national police commissioner.

His decision related to a recent community safety meeting where new guidelines were issued for CPF members.

The Gauteng Community Safety office has however said it will ensure that CPFs are allowed to continue enjoying unfettered access to police stations.

Gauteng CPF board chairman Andy Mashaile said a recent decision by the Community Safety Department meant greater control over how members conduct their oversight visits to police stations.

"We were just requested by the MEC to register all the things that we are doing so that we can be able to account properly."

Mashaile said it's all one big misunderstanding.

"The commissioner said at no stage did he suspend the civilian oversight of the CPF."

Meanwhile, the Gauteng Community Policing Board has said its oversight functions at police stations will continue as normal after a meeting with the provincial commissioner showed the recent controversy was simply a misunderstanding.

Gauteng Community Safety MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malubane is still expected to meet with Phiyega today.

CONFUSION OVER CPF'S OVERSIGHT ROLE

At the same time, a letter written to Mothiba has come under scrutiny by members of CPFs across the province, with some saying it has created unnecessary panic.

On Sunday night the safety and security MEC also released a statement condemning Mothiba's actions and describing it as contrary to the law.

Benoni CPF chairperson Reza Patel said the issue appears to be about oversight.

"It's evident in the letter that the office of the police commissioner wasn't consulted about this new oversight function and as a result the police commissioner wants clarity and is sourcing that from the national commissioner, and there is nothing wrong with that."