The Democratic Alliance (DA) claimed on Thursday that Minister of Police Bheki Cele’s power over the Independent Police Investigate Directorate (Ipid) compromises its independence.
This comes after the party called for clarity after two investigators were allegedly sacked from a special task team probing corruption allegations against high ranking police officials.
The corruption allegations also include former South African Police Service (SAPS) police commissioner Kgomotso Phahlane.
In a statement, DA MP Andrew Whitfield said the DA had written to Ipid executive director, Patrick Setshedi regarding the matter.
“The investigators were reportedly also told to hand their dockets on these investigations over to the Ipid head office. In March, top Ipid investigator Mandla Mahlangu, who was investigating the same case, was shot dead.
“If these latest allegations are indeed true, it is a damning indictment on the credibility of Ipid. This development smacks of an attempt by Ipid to cover up the very same corruption it is constitutionally mandated to investigate,” he said.
“The main reason for Ipid’s current state of chaos has been the political interference by the minister and his powers over the watchdog body.
“The DA believes that Minister Cele’s power over Ipid compromises its independence and we will, therefore, table a private members bill (PMB) to amend the Ipid Act so as to provide parliamentary oversight over the nomination process of the executive director of the watchdog.
“Currently, the Ipid Act gives the minister the power to ‘nominate a suitably qualified person’ which parliament’s police committee must either ‘confirm or reject’,” he added.
Whitfield further said that the DA was of the view that the above-mentioned process was insufficient as it gives too much power to Cele and “reduces the role of the police committee to a mere tick-box exercise while opening the directorate up to undue political influence”.
“We believe that our PMB will be critical in restoring stability at Ipid and getting it back to the work of independently investigating and detecting systematic corruption and procurement irregularities in the SAPS,” he concluded.
(Compiled by Molefe Seeletsa)