Top cop: Sexism behind calls for Phiyega to resign

Deputy commissioner Nobulele Mbekela says men in SA have a track record of attacking women in leadership.

National police commissioner Riah Phiyega. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Deputy police commissioner Nobulele Mbekela has suggested that gender discrimination is behind calls for her boss Riah Phiyega to resign and accusations that she is unfit to hold office.

Mbekela says most of the people who have criticised Phiyega are men and she says men in South Africa have a track record of attacking women in leadership.

The deputy commissioner has also pledged her unconditional support for Phiyega, regardless of the Marikana commission's findings.

She spoke to radio 702's Udo Carelse earlier this morning saying she "unconditionally supports the national commissioner".

Mbekela says they will give Phiyega their unconditional support, even if she is found not to be fit for office.

"We support the national commissioner even in terms of whatever the Farlam report might be saying, we still support her unconditionally. I support her 100 percent."

She says she views the criticism of Phiyega as an attack on female leadership.

"The people that have been making the attack on the national commissioner ever since the release of this Farlam report and analyse, how many of them are men that have actually done that? As a woman I'm taking guard, it's an attack on women leadership."


A board representing the nine provincial police commissioners said the Crime Intelligence Unit (CIU) has improved under the leadership of Phiyega.

The board issued a statement yesterday backing Phiyega, saying she had turned the police service around by bolstering crime intelligence.

However, there have been calls for her to step down from a number of quarters, with the presidency now studying her response to the Marikana report.

The board of commissioners said the CIU has helped stamp out corruption within the police service.

The board of commissioners has denied allegations that police members are breaking ranks against Phiyega, saying she has the full support from the service.

The police's Solomon Mokgale said the evidence is in the number of officers arrested for corruption and illegal activities.

"When the national commissioner joined the South Africa Police Services (Saps), Crime Intelligence was on its knees, there were scandals after scandals in the media."

He said Phiyega inherited an imploding CIU after former police commissioner Bheki Cele was fired.

"We've seen very good results. We can say with absolute confidence that the CIU is now out of the ICU."

Mokgale said claims of a messy state of affairs at Saps are unfounded.

"They deny categorically that they are unhappy with the national police commissioner."

He said at no point has any of the police management structures taken a resolution not to support the submission made at the Farlam commission of inquiry.

The police also announced at the weekend that former CIU head Chris Ngcobo had resigned after it was revealed there were discrepancies with his matric qualification.

The South African Police Union (Sapu) said the resignation of Ngcobo was part of the ongoing exodus of strong leaders in the police service.

Sapu said the police force was purging skilled members for qualifications that were previously unnecessary.