Lt-Gen Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi

Durban - KwaZulu-Natal has a new acting police commissioner while the disciplinary process into suspended commissioner, Lieutenant-General Mmamonnye Ngobeni, drags into its second year.

Minister of Police Bheki Cele made the announcement on Monday that Lieutenant-General Nhlanhla Sibusiso Mkhwanazi would take the helm at the province. 

Cele was speaking at Durban police headquarters during a media briefing by an inter-ministerial committee that has been established to probe political killings in KwaZulu-Natal.

Mkhwanazi replaced Cele when he was suspended in 2011 and later fired as the South African Police Service (SAPS) National Commissioner over his involvement in a shady R1.6-billion police headquarters rental deal involving Gauteng businessman Roux Shabangu. 

Mkhwanazi has replaced current acting commissioner Brigadier-General Bheki Langa.

Suspended KwaZulu-Natal police commissioner Lieutenant-General Mmamonnye Ngobeni. File picture: Nqobile Mbonambi/ANA

Cele said the appointment was done with the consultation of both the provincial premier Willies Mchunu, the national commissioner General Khehla John Sitole and Langa.

“You will know in this province we have been minus the provincial commissioner for around about two years. It’s unfair for people to act for too long and it’s one area we have made a change,” said Cele. 

“Constitutionally, the national commissioner along with the provincial premier must engage on this issue. We’ve agreed to appoint Mkhwanazi. Most of you will know him as the head of the Special Task Force and a person who acted after I was fired as he acted as a national commissioner.”

He said until Ngobeni’s disciplinary is resolved no permanent appointment could be made.

Police Minister Bheki Cele. Photo: Sizwe Ndingane

Ngobeni was suspended in May 2016 and is to be probed for her close relationship with controversial Durban businessman Thoshan Panday. 

She is accused of having interfered with an investigation into Panday, who was suspected of being involved in a multi-million rand police tender scandal to provide accommodation for the police in Durban for the FIFA 2010 World Cup. 

Part of the delay is due to Ngobeni having challenged in the KwaZulu-Natal High Court the office of the National Commissioner’s power to set up the board of inquiry into the allegations and their decision to suspend her. She won, but in March the decision was overturned by the Supreme Court of Appeal.

African News Agency/ANA