Johannesburg - The Independent Police Investigative Directorate confirmed on Friday that it has received allegations of defeating the ends of justice against national police commissioner Riah Phiyega.
“The matter does not fall under the matters investigated by the Ipid. So the executive director of the Ipid will assess it and make a decision on whether it must be investigated by the Ipid,” spokesman Moses Dlamini said.
The case was reported on Wednesday. Phiyega said the allegations against her “will not stick”.
“You can try as much as you like, but you will not succeed. No mud thrown at me will stick,” she said in a statement on Friday morning in response to a report in The Star.
“I remain determined to ensure that nothing, absolutely nothing, deters me and my leadership team from the new journey of rebuilding the SAPS 1/8SA Police Service 3/8, especially the crime intelligence division.”
The Star reported on Friday that Phiyega allegedly tipped off a senior police officer, who allegedly accepted a bribe from a criminal, that crime intelligence was investigating him.
But Phiyega denied tipping off the officer, saying he had become aware of the investigation after the Democratic Alliance asked a question about it in Parliament.
DA spokeswoman Dianne Kohler-Barnard said because the allegations against Phiyega were serious it was important for her actions to be investigated.
“If commissioner Phiyega is innocent, she should not oppose an investigation. Indeed she should encourage one.”
Kohler-Barnard said the reputation of the police could not continue to be battered by “dodgy and corrupt officials”.
Phiyega said it was “interesting” that the allegations surfaced from “faceless people” shortly after her decision to put former acting crime intelligence boss Maj-Gen Chris Ngcobo on special leave. A vetting process found discrepancies in Ngcobo's qualifications.
Phiyega said she was not formally informed of the case of defeating the ends of justice against her, but was aware of the allegations.
They were from people who wanted to discredit her. She said it came as no surprise given some of the “mischievous activities conducted by crime intelligence in the past” , Phiyega's office said in the statement.
“It is clear that this is a lame attempt by certain individuals within crime intelligence to discredit her and derail the process of flushing out those within the SAPS who have no integrity and have no interest in taking the SAPS forward,” her office said.
Phiyega placed Ngcobo on special leave on Monday, instructing that criminal investigations and disciplinary action against him be initiated.
Maj-Gen Bongiwe Zulu assumed Ngcobo's role until further notice.
The Star, quoting “highly placed sources”, said Ngcobo instructed crime intelligence officers to open the case against Phiyega on October 19.
Explaining the alleged tip-off she gave, Phiyega said a question was received in Parliament and during the process of gathering information to enable the police to prepare a response, the DA enquiry ended up in a provincial commissioner's office after passing through various officials.
At that point the commissioner called Phiyega to ask about the investigation, so it could not be argued that she alerted the commissioner about the investigation, her office said.
“Simply put, the national commissioner committed no crime,” the statement read.
Kohler-Barnard said she would write to the police ministry to ascertain what steps were being taken to gain clarity. She would also follow up on her original question in Parliament.
The SA Police Union (Sapu) called on President Jacob Zuma to relieve Phiyega of her duties.
“The latest controversy around General Phiyega adds to the many costly blunders the national commissioner has committed since taking office,” spokesman Solly Bulala said in a statement.
“Sapu calls upon President Jacob Zuma to convene a board of inquiry into the fitness of General Phiyega to hold office. The SAPS can ill afford to have such a character at its helm. It is clear that the general is a liability.”
Sapu called on Phiyega to take a leave of absence to avoid dragging the police's name through the mud.