Mpumalanga Hawks boss: Police commissioner must be clear on action

Anthony Benadie MPL

Provincial Leader – Mpumalanga

National Police Commissioner General Ria Phiyega must grasp the seriousness of the criminal charges against Mpumalanga Hawks commanding officer Major General Simon Mapyane, and take decisive action and immediately suspend him pending an internal investigation.

The DA has on two occasions written to Gen Phiyega calling for Mapyane’s suspension, and both times we received a vague reply that the matter is under internal investigation. It seems that the commissioner accepts that the charges against Mapyane are only in violation of Regulation 20 of the Regulations for the South African Police Service, and may warrant disciplinary action as stipulated by Regulation 5.

However, Gen Phiyega must recognise Regulation 5(2), which states that the seriousness of the misconduct must be assessed in terms of the impact it may have on the accused’s colleagues and the public, the designation and nature of work that person does, and the circumstances in which the misconduct allegedly took place.

Furthermore, she must act in terms of Regulation 13, which makes provision for precautionary suspension, with 13(2) clearly stating that the Commissioner “may suspend the employee without remuneration, if the Commissioner is satisfied that the misconduct which the employee is alleged to have committed, is misconduct as described in Annexure A and that the case against the employee is so strong that it is likely that the employee will be convicted of a crime and be dismissed.”

While Maj Gen Mapyane has not been convicted of any crime yet, the fact is that the provincial head of the police’s elite anti-corruption and crime busting unit stands accused of Annexure A offences, for which one may be suspended without remuneration, and the DA believes that in the interests of the public and the morale of the SAPS, Mapyane should be suspended – with or without remuneration – until the criminal case and internal investigation into his actions have been concluded.

To this end we will again write to Gen Phiyega, explain our concerns to her, citing our interpretation of the police regulations, and once again request Mapyane’s suspension. Furthermore, we will request Gen Phiyega to provide us with a progress report on the internal investigation, as well as the terms of reference and the period within which it should be concluded.

The national police commissioner has no choice but to hold the SAPS top brass to account.