Senior SAPS slammed for closing ranks around Phiyega

The parliamentary committee says the recent endorsement of Phiyega’s leadership is inappropriate.

National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega. Picture: AFP.

CAPE TOWN - Parliament's police portfolio committee has taken a hard-line response to South African Police Service (SAPS) senior management who have publicly closed ranks around National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega.

The committee said the recent endorsement of Phiyega's leadership by the SAPS board of commissioners was 'unfortunate' and 'inappropriate'.

Phiyega is fighting to keep her job after a commission of inquiry into the Marikana tragedy recommended her fitness to hold office be investigated.

In a statement issued over the weekend Phiyega's spokesperson said the police's board of commissioners fully supported her.

This move has angered members of Parliament's police portfolio committee.

Chairperson Francois Beukman said SAPS management should not get involved in lobbying.

"The statement of the said officers blurs the line between the role of civil servants, police officers and the executive."

Democratic Alliance member of Parliament Dianne Kohler Barnard agreed.

"I was astounded at the blatant attempt to influence the process."

The committee will be hauling the officers who have publicly endorsed Phiyega to Parliament next week to explain themselves.