Suspended cops cost SA millions

Police Minister Fikile Mbalula
File picture: Supplied

Mbalula vows to end wasteful ‘acting posts’ by permanently replacing dozens of senior officers

Suspended senior police officers‚ who include those declared unfit to hold public office as well as alleged murderers and fraudsters‚ are costing taxpayers millions of rands in wasteful expenditure.

Police Minister Fikile Mbalula now plans to put an end to the dozens of officers on suspension‚ by permanently appointing their replacements and ending “all these acting posts”.

Driving his mission are the many on suspension who are winding down the clock to retirement.

If they retire while on suspension, they are entitled to draw their pensions and claim their other state benefits.

Suspended national police commissioner Riah Phiyega and disgraced crime intelligence chief Richard Mdluli have, to date, cost taxpayers more than R15-million in salaries and other benefits since their suspensions.

Phiyega‚ suspended in October 2015 on her full annual salary of R1.9-million‚ was found in January to be unfit to hold office by the Claassen Commission of Inquiry. She is appealing against the ruling. The Claassen Commission was established on recommendations from the Farlam Commission of Inquiry‚ which investigated the Marikana Massacre.

The Claassen Commission is said to have cost nearly R160-million.

Mdluli‚ who has been suspended for six years‚ is on trial for kidnapping‚ assault and murder. He earns about R1.8-million a year.

Lieutenant-General Khomotso Phahlane‚ who is under investigation by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate over allegations of corruption‚ is the acting national police commissioner.

Phiyega’s five-year employment contract ends in July, while Mdluli is set to retire later this year.

Hawks head Berning Ntlemeza‚ who earns an estimated R1.9-million a year‚ was fired last week after the Pretoria High Court ruled that last month’s ruling – that his appointment in 2015 be reviewed – be enforced.

Despite Ntlemeza being found to be a liar and unfit to hold his position by multiple courts‚ he has never appeared before an internal disciplinary board.

SA Police Union president Mpho Kwinika said the wasteful expenditures could easily have been prevented.

“The Mdluli suspension [of six years] is unheard of in the history of the police,” Kwinika said.

“The Phiyega matter is also ridiculous. What makes it worse is that they are not seen as urgent and drag on for years.

“These people are simply winding down the clock to retirement.”

He said Phiyega and Mdluli‚ along with others‚ have been enjoying the luxury of their salaries and other benefits while being shrouded in controversy.

“When it comes to Ntlemeza‚ South Africans have paid the salary of someone unlawfully employed,” Kwinika said.

“There are police members arrested for far less [controversial issues who are] immediately disciplined‚ found guilty and fired.

“Yet when it comes to senior officers, their disciplinary hearings are dragged out.”

He said this had come at a terrible cost to the taxpayer.

Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union spokesman Richard Mamabolo said having people in acting positions meant taxpayers were paying for two people in the same position.

“There have to be speedy resolutions to disciplinary hearings to stop the taxpayer being abused,” he said.

“People must receive fair trials‚ but if they are found guilty they are guilty and must be fired.”

Mbalula‚ speaking after Ntlemeza’s sacking‚ said: “We will not tolerate these endless court battles‚ especially to the detriment of fighting crime where resources are needed most.

“We have explained this [the ending of acting positions] to top management. “There are challenges. “The Phiyega matter is one. Phiyega’s contract is coming to an end and we know the issues around that.

“But I say this – before the end of the year, all vacancies will be filled so we do not have acting posts.

“Our strategy is clear – that is to reduce acts of corruption.

“We will deal with those perpetrating corruption and [who] think that [they] are here to have a holiday.

“Those found guilty will not have a job within the police.” – The Times

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