Parliament’s Police Portfolio Committee grill Saps’ Makgale

Recently, Solomon Makgale issued two statements, which have raised the ire of Members of Parliament.

FILE: Saps spokesperson Solomon Makgale. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Parliament's Police Portfolio Committee today grilled the South African Police Service (Saps) head of Communications Solomon Makgale about controversial statements of support of embattled National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega.

Today the committee adopted the terms of reference of an inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the issuing of these statements in the name of the provincial commissioners of police.

Last week the President informed Phiyega of his intention to institute a probe into her fitness to hold office over her handling of the 2012 Marikana massacre.

In recent weeks, Makgale issued two statements which have raised the ire of Members of Parliament (MPs).

They believe it is not the place of police management to enter into the realm of politics by publicly closing ranks around Phiyega.

After the first statement issued earlier this month, provincial commissioners were forced to apologise to parliament and the president.

But it didn't end there. Several hours after the public shaming, police issued another statement saying they regretted the unintended consequence of their initial statement.

The portfolio committee called Makgale today to explain all of this. But after over an hour of questioning, it was no closer to establishing how involved Phiyega was in these statements.

Chairperson Francois Beukman is concerned.

"Today's proceedings warrants us as a committee to enter into discussion with executive committee to indicate that there is serious problems in our analysis, within corporate governance and within Saps."

Makgale took exception to suggestions that he was not being honest.