Mbalula to appoint new police commissioner in two months

Police Minister Fikile Mbalula says there needs to be stability in the police service.

FILE: Police Minister Fikile Mbalula. Picture: Cindy Archillies/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – Police Minister Fikile Mbalula says a new national police commissioner will be appointed in the next two months after Kgomotso Phahlane’s departure.

Last week, the former acting commissioner left his position amid an investigation by police watchdog Ipid into alleged tender irregularities amongst the things.

President Jacob Zuma subsequently appointed Lesetja Mothiba as acting commissioner.

Mbalula says there needs to be stability in the police service.

“With regard to Kgomotso Phahlane, we took the decisions that we had to take because we need stability. It is not in the interest of everyone continuing in their position given what is surrounding him. So we asked him to step aside.”

In a statement, Phahlane said he had constructive engagement with Mbalula in which he agreed to step down from his position as acting commissioner with immediate effect.

Like Berning Ntlemeza, with former Police Minister Nathi Nhleko now out of the picture, Phahlane has no political support.

While the Police Minister says the move was in the interests of the police and will give Phahlane an opportunity to answer to the serious allegations he is facing, the president was mum on the controversy.

It is the president who is vested with the authority to appoint the national commissioner but all Zuma would say about Phahlane is that his contract had ended before thanking him for leadership during his tenure.

On Thursday, Mbalula described the Independent Police Investigative Directorate as “an institution this government holds in serious esteem for its importance to our democracy and protection of citizens’ human rights”.

Meanwhile, Ipid head Robert McBride, who was suspended for about 18 months under Nhleko, has outlived, outlasted and outplayed a minister, the head of the Hawks and now an acting national commissioner.

Additional reporting by Barry Bateman.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)