Provincial police commissioners withdraw Phiyega support

The commissioners had endorsed Phiyega while she faced a possible inquiry into her fitness to hold office.

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

CAPE TOWN -The country's provincial police commissioners have been forced to withdraw a controversial statement in which they pledged support for top cop Riah Phiyega.

The commissioners were summoned to Parliament today to explain why they chose to publicly endorse Phiyega while she faces a possible inquiry into her fitness to hold office.

Members of Parliament (MPs) wanted to know who instructed the police's head of communications to issue the statement and whether Phiyega signed off on the document after the South African Police Service (SAPS) board of commissioners met in July.

The commissioners claim the statement was issued to clarify perceptions in the media about instability, disunity and a mutiny in the SAPS.

Police portfolio committee chairperson Francois Beukman said they were wrong.

"You don't see other government departments, where there is process regarding the DG, where the DG is suspended. You have now the deputy DGs and chief directors issuing statements in support.

"You don't have provincial directors of government departments saying 'hands off the DG'. Really, this is what you expect at university campuses or at high school."