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Johannesburg - On the same day that the Ekurhuleni metro police chief appeared in court charged with murder, a recommendation that he head a brand-new position as Joburg’s head of public safety was withdrawn.
The recommendation for the position came from a City of Joburg mayoral committee report last month and stated that the police chief, Hlula Msimang, had been recommended unanimously to be appointed as the executive director of public safety for Joburg, starting on December 1.
Msimang appeared in a Joburg court last Friday, charged with murder.
The alleged murder took place in Msimang’s home in Bryanston on February 11, six months before the recruitment process for the job began. But Msimang’s lawyer said his client had acted in self-defence.
“My client shot a man while defending himself. The man had broken into his home and was undoubtedly there with malicious intent,” said Bongani Khoza.
“The constitution clearly states that people are innocent until proven guilty,” added Khoza when asked about Msimang’s recommendation for the new position.
Mayoral spokesman Fred Mokoko said the report recommending Msimang for the position was withdrawn by the Joburg council on Friday, the same day the police chief appeared in court.
Mokoko could not say whether it was withdrawn because of the charges.
The committee’s report recommendation had been sent to the council for approval. City manager Trevor Fowler was supposed to oversee contract negotiations for the job.
The DA wanted to know how Msimang could have been approved for the job with a criminal charge pending.
“Clearly [the murder charge] didn’t seem to have come up in the process, and if it did come up in the process, why was he appointed?” asked the DA’s spokesman for safety in the council, Mervyn Cirota.
He added that the position was new and Msimang – who had been a metro police chief in Tshwane for three years – would have been responsible for joint operations between the Joburg metro police department and emergency services in the City of Joburg’s jurisdiction.