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Durban - Former provincial police spokesman, Colonel Vincent Mdunge, said he decided to resign two weeks ago due to the serious nature of the allegations against him, and to challenge them in court.
The veteran policeman, who served as the senior SAPS spokesman in KwaZulu-Natal, resigned after the police top brass, acting in response to an internal probe into his matric certificate, said they would institute disciplinary action.
Speaking to the Daily News on Friday, Mdunge said the the allegations against him were “not ordinary”, but were very serious as they tarnished the image of the SAPS.
“I am currently consulting with senior counsel who will be handling my matter because I don’t want to deal with it in the public domain as many people expect,” he said.
Mdunge felt that when one was excelling in an organisation, there would “always be individuals who saw you as a threat”.
“I, however, will not succumb. I will fight for my integrity. I have served the country and my province with honesty and integrity and that will not be taken away from me. I have done my job,” he said.
Mdunge said the police service has been his home for 27 years and he would hold on to the good work and the memories.
“For now, I will focus on clearing my name because I cannot lose my integrity,” he said.
In the wake of news of Mdunge’s alleged fake certificate and of his resignation, calls for criminal action against him are mounting.
Both the IFP and DA are calling for Mdunge to be prosecuted, and police spokesman Colonel Jay Naicker confirmed that charges of fraud were being investigated against his former colleague.
The IFP’s spokesman on policing matters, Velaphi Ndlovu, said the senior officials within the SAPS who had known that Mdunge allegedly had no formal qualification should also be identified and disciplined.
“This is shocking because Colonel Vincent Mdunge spoke about crime on a daily basis. As a police officer he was supposed to lead by example, now he must face the consequences,” he said.
Ndlovu said the SAPS’ qualification verification process, which had picked up the alleged discrepancy regarding Mdunge’s certificate, was long overdue.
Employees found to not have proper qualifications must be identified and prosecuted, he said.
“They should not receive any benefits when they resign from the SAPS,” Ndlovu said. The SAPS continued to suffer a great deal of damage to its reputation through the actions of certain officials.
“A foundation of correct policing and an ethos of discipline, integrity and accountability must be inculcated into the force if its image and credibility are ever to be restored,” he added.
The DA’s spokeswoman on police, Dianne Kohler Barnard, said Mdunge should be criminally charged.
“I am absolutely shocked because he held such a high position and I am convinced that had this did not come out, he would have eventually been a general,” she said.
There were many police officers, according to Kohler Barnard, who had lied about having matric certificates.
“I am also sure that there are many police officers who have fake driver’s licences as one cannot become a police officer if they did not have these two things,” she said.
The pressure and stress of having to have those two documents in order to be part of the SAPS was one of the reasons why some members faked them, she said.
“This has to be stopped and I am hoping that through the audits, more members who have committed this fraud will be caught.”
Kohler Barnard said the scandal also showed that the SAPS did not verify qualifications at the time of hiring.
KZN crime and violence monitor, Mary de Haas, also agreed that Mdunge should be charged.
“He was a really nice person, but wrong is wrong and if this is the case, an example should be made and I sincerely hope that if there are others, they should also be disciplined and not only him,” she said.
De Haas said the irony was that many people who worked hard to obtain their matric qualifications were sidelined when it came to promotions.
“This is a major problem when people with no qualifications are promoted. It destroys the morale of staff,” she said. “I am sure Mdunge is not the only one and all the others should be exposed and not only him.”
Naicker said the verification process was continuing.