Experts weigh in on Phiyega's future

Legal and constitutional experts believe the national police commissioner might find herself in hot water.

National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega. Picture: EWN.

PRETORIA - While the police have downplayed allegations that Riah Phiyega may be guilty of criminal offences for not taking action against allegedly corrupt cops legal and constitutional, experts think she might find herself in hot water.

Eyewitness News revealed this morning that two months before his suspension, Independent Police Investigative Directorate head Robert McBride recommended that Phiyega be suspended and face a criminal investigation on charges of racketeering, corruption and defeating the ends of justice.

The matter relates to an alleged corrupt relationship between KwaZulu-Natal commissioner Mamonye Ngobeni and politically connected businessman Thoshan Panday.

McBride argued that the general's conduct may amount to racketeering that instead of dealing with allegations of corruption she rather associates herself with such behaviour.

After studying McBride's letter, attorney Tyrone Maseko says he is not convinced of a charge of corruption and racketeering against the police commissioner but he says she may be guilty of defeating the ends of justice.

"Once this information is brought to her attention that these crimes could be taking place she has done very little to make sure the people are prosecuted or at least face a disciplinary hearing."

The Helen Suzman Foundation's Francis Antonie says if true, the police commissioner's conduct is deeply worrying.

"It raises serious concerns about the administration of criminal justice in our country at this point."

While the police claim steps are being taken against the implicated police officers, they all remain on duty.

PHIYEGA'S ALLEGED CRIMINAL CHARGES INDICATE SAPS MANAGEMENT CRISIS

It's being suggested that Phiyega's alleged failure to act against senior police officers implicated in corruption is indicative of the management crisis in the police service which has led to the upward trend of crime statistic in the past few years.

The Institute for Security Studies Gareth Newhham says her alleged failure to act against subordinates implicated in corruption has real implications for all South Africans.

"Being dishonest is not a barrier to being promoted or being protected so those that are honest know that they could have their careers on the line if they are not careful. This means that they can't work together and there is no trust which is the reason why there has been an upsurge in crime."

Police management say the commissioner has in fact taken steps against the implicated officers yet none have been brought before a disciplinary hearing.