Ramaphosa institutes board of inquiry into top cop Khehla Sitole’s fitness to hold office
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President Cyril Ramaphosa has instituted a board of inquiry into the national police commissioner’s alleged misconduct and fitness to hold office, his office confirmed on Thursday.
Presidency spokesperson Tyrone Seale issued a statement confirming that the president issued a notice of suspension to Khehla Sitole last month and that Sitole had already responded to the notice.
Seale said the notice to suspend Sitole was actioned in terms of Section 8(3) of the Police Act.
The statement confirmed that Ramaphosa issued a notice of suspension to the national commissioner on September 20 in connection with allegations of Sitole’s failure to assist the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) in some of its investigations.
These allegations emerged publicly and became the subject of a finding by Judge Dennis Davis in the Pretoria High Court.
The court found Sitole to have breached his duties as a police officer in terms of the Ipid Act by intentionally delaying a number of Ipid investigations into corrupt procurement deals within the Crime Intelligence environment.
The investigations were allegedly linked to the R45-million “Nasrec grabber” matter.
According to the statement, Ramaphosa indicated to Sitole that the issues arising from the High Court judgment were serious.
“The President has, in terms of Section 9 of the South African Police Services Act of 1995, read with Section 8 of the same Act, 68 of 1995, deemed it appropriate at this stage to institute a board of inquiry into the National Commissioner’s alleged misconduct and fitness to hold the office of National Commissioner of Police.
“This is merited by the public interest in the integrity of the office of the National Commissioner,” the statement read.
Seale said Ramaphosa outlined this context in his letter to Sitole and had given the Commissioner 14 days in which to respond.
Sitole had since submitted representations in this regard, Seale said.
“While the President considers these representations, further engagement on this matter will be between the President and the National Commissioner,” he said.
Earlier this year, the general and two other SAPS senior officials lost their application for leave to appeal against an earlier judgment regarding the declassification of documents.
In January, the High Court ordered the police to hand over several secret documents to Ipid for the purpose of investigating suspected tender fraud and corruption within police ranks.
The court found that Sitole, as well as Francinah Vuma and Lebeona Tshumane, both lieutenant-generals, had breached their duties by failing to furnish Ipid with information and documents relating to their investigation into alleged fraud and corruption.