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Johannesburg - At least 10 police generals have stopped just short of accusing Minister of Police Nathi Mthethwa of lying, following a meeting to discuss the so-called purge list.
The Star has spoken to several top cops who pronounced themselves unhappy with Mthethwa’s public statement on the list.
The generals told The Star there had been no substantial discussion and decision on the status of the list.
They say the meeting, held on Monday in Pretoria, ended inconclusively.
They were surprised when TV cameras were brought in when they expected Mthethwa to wrap up proceedings and chart the way forward.
Mthethwa had called the meeting to discuss the existence of a list that first became public when sacked national police commissioner Bheki Cele made reference to it at the funeral of top cop Sean Tshabalala, who was found dead in his office recently.
The generals said they had merely told Mthethwa there was no way they would know the origin of the so-called purge list as they themselves were subjects of the list.
Their concern, they told The Star, was the action police management was taking against them.
The Star understands that Mthethwa refused a request from the generals to intervene and have the transfers and suspensions stopped.
He told them only national commissioner General Riah Phiyega could deal with operational matters.
Immediately after the meeting, Mthethwa invited the media in and rubbished the list.
“We’ve come to the conclusion this ‘purge list’ is nothing more than hot air,” Mthethwa said.
He added: “This has been concocted to cause confusion – nothing more. But we won’t be distracted from our mandate.”
Mthethwa called on Cele to explain the list’s origin.
At Tshabalala’s funeral, Cele told shocked mourners that Tshabalala had made notes of his alleged mistreatment and proceeded to read the notes at the funeral.
Tshabalala was found dead in his office on the morning of Christmas Eve.
Three of the officers who spoke to The Star on condition of anonymity said they believed there was a conspiracy against them.
The officers said former members of Umkhonto weSizwe were being targeted for victimisation.
They claimed Mthethwa’s declaration that the list story was “drivel” was based on nothing but the fact that they had told him during the meeting that they had no personal knowledge of it or its origin.
“How are we supposed to know? We told him we believe we are being targeted and that we want this conspiracy… to be investigated.
“We also voiced our grievances about victimisation, but he simply downplayed it. He said the national commissioner has a right to act against us if she sees fit,” said one officer.
Another officer, who said he had been verbally informed that he would be moved from his position, claimed Mthe- thwa said his intervention would create a public uproar as it would appear as if former MK members were being given preferential treatment.
Another officer said: “Most of the former MK veterans in the SAPS are unhappy. It seems that the management is targeting us, and we don’t know why,” an officer said.
Mthethwa’s spokesman, Zweli Mnisi, said: “We do not comment on information peddling. Nonetheless, the minister met with all the affected officials precisely because the issues raised are not homogeneous… The issues discussed were human resource and governance issues.”