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Saps defends number of cops suspended with full pay

Figures as recent as July show a total of 270 officers were on suspension, 85 of them with pay.

FILE: More than R5,7 million was spent on suspended members across the board in the 2014/2015 financial year. Picture: Saps.

CAPE TOWN - The South African Police Service (Saps) has defended the number of senior officers currently suspended on full pay, arguing that it shows it's taking action against those accused of misconduct, rather than releasing them with "golden handshakes".

Kwa-Zulu Natal Hawks boss Johan Booysen's suspension this week has brought to 12 the number of senior managers who have been suspended pending investigations into misconduct.

Booysen is facing allegations that include the submission of fraudulent documents to claim performance bonuses for tracking down wanted suspects.

The Major-General has successfully overturned a previous suspension that was declared unlawful and has also had racketeering charges against him withdrawn.

Police spokesperson Solomon Makgale says officers should be charged within 60 days of being suspended, but that this doesn't always happen as some cases are more complex than others.

"There was a time where the Saps was accused of not taking disciplinary action against senior managers. What used to happen was that when a senior officer was suspected of having committed a misconduct, then a golden handshake would be quickly arranged. The national commissioner has come in and stopped that. If a senior manager is suspected of having been involved in a misconduct, then disciplinary steps are taken against them. There are currently 12 senior managers who are on suspension."

The Institute for Security Studies' Johan Burger says internal disciplinary matters should be concluded within a reasonable time.

"The practice has always been that these matters, as far as senior officers are concerned, needs to be reasonable."

Makgale added that, "We do everything possible to keep within the provisions of the policy, but sometimes it's something that is beyond our control."

STILL EARNING

Former crime intelligence head Richard Mdluli has reportedly been earning an annual salary of at least R1,3 million since being suspended on full pay in June 2012.

Western Cape Police Commissioner Arno Lamoer is pocketing a salary of around R100,000 a month since being suspended in April in connection with a number of criminal charges, including corruption.

A board of inquiry has to probe the allegations against Lamoer and it's unclear how long this internal process will take.

Figures as recent as July show a total of 270 officers were on suspension, 85 of them with pay.

More than R5,7 million was spent on suspended members across the board in the 2014/2015 financial year.