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Cape Town - Major-General Ngcobo, the Acting Divisional Commissioner of Crime Intelligence who was denied top-secret security clearance, will fight his case at a disciplinary hearing, his lawyer confirmed on Wednesday.
General Riah Phiyega announced on Tuesday that she had placed Ngcobo on “special leave” after identifying discrepancies in his qualifications during a security clearance check.
Phiyega said: “Major-General Ngcobo, Acting Divisional Commissioner of Crime Intelligence, has so far failed to satisfactorily explain the discrepancies.
“His top-secret security clearance was therefore denied. As such, I placed him on special leave yesterday (Monday) and instructed that criminal investigations and disciplinary action against him be initiated. I want to ensure that this matter is dealt with swiftly.”
Major-General Bongiwe Zulu, who serves in the human resources development division, would assume Ngcobo’s role until further notice.
Commenting on the developments, Dr Johan Burger, a researcher at the Institute for Security Studies, said: “This is a highly sensitive position. They were supposed to make absolutely sure that they had the right person and do proper vetting before he was appointed as an acting head of the unit.
“You need someone who can be trusted, not someone who has a criminal record or has false academic records. There is no doubt this is a blunder.”
Sources told the Cape Argus sister paper The Star that Ngcobo “went AWOL for more than a month” after it emerged that he had allegedly lied about his qualifications.
When Ngcobo was asked if he had been put on “special leave” following discrepancies in his qualifications, he hesitantly responded: “Ja.” He then put the phone down.
Briefing the National Assembly’s police committee in August, Ngcobo and Phiyega said both the SA Police Service and the State Security Agency were experiencing security vetting backlogs.
DA MP Dianne Kohler Barnard said:”We are angered at further revelations that police commissioner Riah Phiyega, has once again bungled a major appointment in the SA Police Service.
“This is the second major Phiyega appointment blunder. The question is: did it take over a year for those processing his top-secret security clearance to discover these discrepancies - or has it only now been conveniently revealed?”