Police Minister Nathi Nhleko also told Parliament on Thursday he would not take disciplinary action against Phahlane as he was cleared in a report last December on corruption.
But Nhleko would not say if he would still support Phahlane amid allegations probed by Ipid.
ANC MPs have questioned the methods used by Ipid to investigate
Phahlane and the involvement of forensic investigator Paul O’Sullivan. ANC MP Livhunani Mabija wanted to know if there was a law that allowed O’Sullivan to investigate Phahlane with Ipid.
Mabija said there was a campaign to discredit Phahlane and other senior officials in the police.
Another ANC MP Leonard Ramatlakane said they supported Phahlane. “I know national commissioner you said this makes you tired, these allegations. On the other side, you will come out strong. Remember they say the tallest tree gets the wind, you will get the wind,” said Ramatlakane.
Nhleko said he also had issues with the way the investigation was conducted. “Indeed, I do not have a problem with any investigation. The point should be made that no one should have a problem with any investigation because it will assist us to get to the bottom of any point,” said Nhleko. He said any investigation was welcomed.
Nhleko also questioned O’Sullivan’s involvement in the Ipid probe.
He said despite the fact it was allowed by the law to bring in investigators that law had limitations.
“Even in that law it does not allow private individuals to be part of state institutions,” he said.
He said this was a legal question that needed to be looked into.
Nhleko also said there had been a campaign of character assassination against the national commissioners since the departure of George Fivaz.
“Now that the Claassen report is out (that recommends that suspended national commissioner Riah Phiyega be fired) there is a stampede towards the issue who becomes the national commissioner, and then you see all the character assassination,” he said. He said the police were part of a system targeted by foreign interests. Phahlane denied any allegations of corruption against him.
“One thing I read about is that the career of Gen Phahlane must be scrutinised. I have no objection. I have a proud record,” he said.
Phahlane has been questioned over the R8 million house he owns in Pretoria. But on Thursday he told MPs there was proof of payment of the R80 000 sound system, investigated by Ipid, and that he has a bond of R3 million on his house. He said O’Sullivan had been harassing him about the house since it was constructed. He said he welcomed any investigation as long as it was done in accordance with the law and questioned O’Sullivan’s involvement in the Ipid probe.
O’Sullivan said on Thursday that Phahlane was talking rubbish and described him as a liar.
He said he handed his investigations to Ipid. He said he continued to find incriminating evidence against him every second week. Ipid spokesman Moses Dlamini said they would not be able to comment until they have received a transcript of the discussions in the portfolio committee.