Johannesburg - National police commissioner Riah Phiyega satisfied the requirements for medal conferment, the police ministry said on Friday.
“The National Commissioner has satisfied the conferment requirements as stipulated by the respective warrants of these four categories of the four medals which were approved by the designated authority,” Musa Zondi, spokesman for police ministry, said in a statement.
He was reacting to the Democratic Alliance statement on Friday that it would offer Phiyega an “award for patriotism” on condition that she step down from her position.
“If she agrees to resign, we will provide her with a DA-sponsored patriotic duty award,” DA spokeswoman Dianne Kohler-Barnard said.
In a sarcastic statement, Kohler-Barnard “congratulated” Phiyega on four medals she wore on National Police Remembrance Day.
The DA queried what the accolades were for in written parliamentary questions last month.
Phiyega holds a 10-year Commemoration Award.
Kohler-Barnard also had a dig at former police minister Nathi Mthethwa who awarded the medals to Phiyega, applauding his “excellent judgment” in granting her a Gold Medal for Outstanding Service.
She also commented on Phiyega's Soccer World Cup 2010 Support Award.
“This is arguably Riah Phiyega's greatest achievement. It is incredible that she was able to earn this award given that the World Cup took place a full two years before the commissioner even joined the police.”
The fourth medal was for the 11 police agencies that were amalgamated into one in 1994.
“This is extremely well done given that this, too, far preceded her time at the SAPS by 18 years,” Kohler-Barnard said.
Zondi said Phiyega formed part of the committee that bid for the 2010 World Cup.
“Her contribution amongst others relating to that, qualified her to be awarded the said medal, thus satisfying the conferment requirements as stipulated in this warrant.”
“It should be noted that there is a difference between outstanding service and long service.”
The SA Policing Union also expressed dismay at Phiyega's decorations.
“The medals awarded to Ms Phiyega... belong to others, not her,” general secretary Oscar Skommere said in a statement.
The Freedom Front Plus condemned the awarding of the medals to Phiyega as “not only an embarrassment for the police, but also an embarrassment for the whole of South Africa”.