Amanda Watson
News Editor
2 minute read
31 Jul 2015
9:25 am

Will Riah Phiyega go or stay?

Amanda Watson

Those baying for national police commissioner General Riah Phiyega's head might be in for a surprise once President Jacob Zuma has applied his mind to her submission on her fitness to remain in office.

Police commissioner Riah Phiyega. Picture: Refilwe Modise

Phiyega was appointed in June 2012 on the heels of former police boss Bheki Cele who was removed for improperly awarding a R1.7 billion housing contract. The Marikana Commission recommended an inquiry into Phiyega’s fitness to hold office after police gunned down 34 miners during the strike in 2012 at a Lonmin mine near Rustenburg.

At the time of the appointment of South Africa’s first female police chief, Institute for Security Studies researcher Johan Burger said his main concerns were “with her lack of experience with the police as an organisation and policing as a function”.

“I do not see how she can survive this,” he said yesterday. “A judicial commission of inquiry, chaired by a very experienced retired judge, together with a number of senior advocates, all working together for two years sifting through the evidence, finds she was dishonest, that she lied, that she participated in attempts to mislead – in fact they say there is prima facie [on the face of it] evidence that she deliberately tried to mislead the commission.”

He added: “These are extremely serious findings against her.” Something Phiyega may use in her defence is the Department of Planning Monitoring and Evaluation’s nomination of the SAPS as a “good practice case study based on its performance on the Management Performance Assessment Tool”.

The SAPS has moved from 27th out of 45 departments to 12th overall in 2013, Phiyega said on Tuesday. “The 2014 results are not out yet but management is confident the department will show improved performance,” she said.

Also in her favour is the clampdown on corruption in the SAPS. “To date there are 270 SAPS members currently on suspension, 85 with remuneration and 185 with no remuneration. We have dismissed over 1 442 members for various criminal and departmental reasons which indicate police management has taken a decision to neither condone nor tolerate such elements within our ranks,” Phiyega said two weeks ago.