Deputy Minister backs shaming of top cops who supported Phiyega

SA’s top cops were hauled over the coals for pledging support for Phiyega while she faces a possible inquiry.

FILE. National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Deputy police minister Maggie Sotyu has backed Parliament's public shaming of the South African Police Service (SAPS) top management for defending embattled national commissioner Riah Phiyega.

The country's provincial commissioners were hauled over the coals for pledging their support to Phiyega while she faces a possible inquiry into her fitness to hold office as recommended by the Marikana commission.

Members of Parliament (MPs) ordered them to retract their statement and apologise to the committee and the president.

Addressing Parliament's police portfolio committee on Wednesday, Sotyu said the timing of their statement was problematic.

"I agree with you when you say that we must apologise to the president and the nation because we started by pre-empting the president when we don't know what road this is going to take."

President Jacob Zuma is currently considering the police commissioner's submissions as to why she should not face an inquiry.

Earlier this month deputy national commissioner Nobubele Mbekela claimed all provincial commissioners were behind Phiyega, no matter what.

"We support the national commissioner even in terms of what the Farlam report might be saying, commission of inquiry or what, it is unconditional."

SAPS BOARD ISSUES STATEMENT

Shortly after midnight, the SAPS board of commissioners released a media statement hoping to correct what it called a 'misconception' created by an earlier statement.

The board claimed what that statement was trying to do was to rubbish rumours or reports of a mutiny against Phiyega.

It admitted that it created unintended consequences, including a feeling that the country's top provincial police bosses were pre-empting the inquiry into whether their boss is fit to hold office.

The commissioners said they did not intend to cause any harm to the police service or to the people it serves, and they regretted what happened.

They've now said they support whatever process Phiyega may face, which is a climbdown from the 'unconditional' support they initially offered her.