2 minute read
4 Mar 2015
6:07 pm

Police commissioners to get Sona questions


The SA Police Service will receive written questions about its activities during the state-of-the-nation address, the Democratic Alliance's Western Cape community safety spokeswoman said on Wednesday.

Suspended police commissioner Riah Phiyega. Image source: Christine Vermooten

Mireille Wenger, who heads the provincial committee on community safety, said in a statement that questions would be directed in writing to provincial police commissioner Arno Lamoer and national police commissioner Riah Phiyega.

Lamoer was in the provincial legislature on Wednesday morning. The committee had called him in to get answers about what police did in the parliamentary precinct during President Jacob Zuma’s state-of-the-nation speech on February 12.

“We are most disappointed that many of the pertinent questions remain unanswered,” said Wenger.

At the time, Lamoer said he could not answer questions about action taken on that day as it was a national operation.

“It is a national event. It is a national operation. There are different role players in that.”

He said the committee needed to address questions to the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (Natjoints).

Natjoints, which is mandated to secure major national events, includes the police, defence force, metro police departments, and intelligence bodies.

Wenger said that while it was understandable that some matters fell under national co-ordinating structures, the committee had hoped to get clarity on provincial police matters, especially in light of media reports claiming that provincial police were deployed to the National Assembly.

Lamoer said he could not discuss any operational details about that day because the media was present.

Wenger told him that the provincial legislature could not exclude the public and media unless it was reasonable and justifiable to do so.

The committee had asked questions relating to the arrest of four Democratic Alliance members on charges of public violence, ahead of the state-of-the-nation address.

Last week, the National Prosecuting Authority confirmed the charges against DA MP Marius Redelinghuys, DA Cape metro chairman Shaun August, and two other party members, were withdrawn due to insufficient evidence.

Lamoer said police officers had the power to arrest someone suspected of breaking the law.

His department would investigate allegations that the party’s members were driven around for four or five hours in a police van.

“If any of my members transgresses, I will take action against that. We are still looking at what is going on there… so the investigation is not yet concluded.”

He said the DA members could approach the provincial police ombudsman, public protector, or the police’s own inspectorate.

Wenger said there seemed to be quite a heavy police presence on that day and asked whether there had been a particular threat to national security or fear of disruption.

Lamoer replied that the police presence that day was not out of the ordinary. He would be able to provide figures in writing on how many officers were present that day and how many arrests were made.

“The threat itself, that is really a question that needs to be asked to state security,” he said.