DA MP angry Phiyega SMS issue brushed aside

Dianne Kohler-Barnard is stunned by the Police Portfolio Committee’s change in tune over Phiyega’s SMS.

National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega addresses the media at the Alexandra police station after a police constable killed four people at the station before fleeing the scene. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Democratic Alliance Member of Parliament (MP) Dianne Kohler-Barnard says she's stunned by the Police Portfolio Committee's sudden change in tune over Riah Phiyega's controversial SMS.

In response to a TV interview Kohler-Barnard did last week, Phiyega sent her a message saying she would not be undone by her and that she was black, proud and capable.

The SMS read, "I am black, proud, capable and get it clear you can take nothing from me, eat your heart out. I am not made by you and cannot be undone by you."

In a statement, she owned up to sending the message which she said was not meant for public distribution or intended to be threatening.

Phiyega appeared before the committee on Wednesday but was spared having to answer questions about the issue.

Opposition MPs were clearly angry about the SMS on Tuesday, but the following day Portfolio Committee chairperson Francois Beukman let the issue slide.

"Well there was acknowledgement that it came from that source and that's why we as the committee said there must be serious reflection on such a matter that it been sent from an accounting officer."

Kohler-Barnard was stunned by the about turn.

"This committee decided jointly earlier on that we'd deal with it more severely and yet today just brushed aside with one sentence."

Phiyega said the SMS was a statement of self-affirmation.