Zuma suspends Phiyega with immediate effect

Jacob Zuma released a statement saying he has decided to suspend Riah Phiyega with immediate effect.

National Police Commissioner General Riah Phiyega. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - President Jacob Zuma has released a statement this afternoon saying he has decided to suspend National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega with immediate effect.

The presidency says Phiyega's suspension is pending any decision that is made upon the recommendations of the board of inquiry into allegations of misconduct.

Phiyega had an opportunity to explain why she shouldn't be suspended for the duration of an inquiry into her fitness to hold office.

This was a recommendation from the Farlam Commission of Inquiry which investigated the violence and deaths in Marikana in 2012 including the police's conduct.

The president has appointed Lieutenant-General Johannes Khomotso Phahlane as acting national commissioner of the SAPS. Phahlane is currently the divisional commissioner for forensic services at the SAPS.

LISTEN: McBride accuses Phiyega of breaking the law.

FIRST ON EWN: 'PHIYEGA FAILED TO COMPLY WITH IPID LAW'

Eyewitness News today revealed a series of correspondence which shows Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) head Robert McBride accuse Phiyega of failing to comply with Ipid legislation, and presenting any excuse not to act against alleged corrupt police officers.

This latest development follows an EWN exposé which showed that in January, McBride recommended Phiyega be suspended and criminally investigated for not taking steps against senior members of the South African Police Service.

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

Despite the police saying steps have been taken, the three police officers implicated in fraud worth more than R75 million remain on duty, and are yet to face a hearing.

In February, McBride sent an Ipid recommendation to the national commissioner to institute disciplinary steps against several senior police officers implicated in corruption.

Phiyega responded, saying that in terms of police regulations, a departmental investigation would first be conducted before she takes any steps against the accused.

McBride argued in a follow-up letter in March that the legislation was clear - that the commissioner was compelled to initiate a disciplinary hearing, adding that her conduct was consistent with her refusal to act against these police members, to the extent she failed to comply with the law.

However, the police's Solomon Makgale said Ipid and the police agreed on this process for acting on recommendations.