Former top cop Lieutenant-General Khomotso Phahlane, who has earned almost R4million for sitting at home, has vowed to return to work soon to shake up the SAPS.
Phahlane was speaking to The Star in Tshwane yesterday, ahead of his court appearance today on charges of procurement fraud involving R84m.
The case is related to a 2016 tender to install - among others - blue lights, sirens and radio equipment in Gauteng police vehicles. Phahlane was confident he would be cleared of the charges, and return to his post as the SAPS’s national head of forensics.
He has been on suspension since June 1, 2017 when he was still the acting national commissioner.
“I am the most senior lieutenant- general within the SAPS today, and it has been painful to sit at home and watch the crime situation get out of hand.
“But I will be back in the service to do my work,” Phahlane asserted.
According to him, he was technically on a paid holiday, because of the regulations within the SAPS that officers placed on suspension should have their disciplinary matters resolved within 90 days or return to work.
“My stay at home has been unexplained, because it is not leave and it is not special leave - there is no such thing as special leave.
“So this really needs to be explained to the public,” Phahlane said.
The Star sent detailed questions to the national police headquarters on whether the SAPS were worried about wasteful expenditure or whether Phahlane’s matter was close to being resolved.
National police spokesperson Brigadier Vish Naidoo said: “His (Phahlane) is an internal matter and it is being dealt with as such, internally.”
Mpho Kwinika, president of the South African Police Union (Sapu), which represents Phahlane, hit out at the national SAPS for what the union president said was a total waste of public money for paying someone who is idling at home.
“The general (Phahlane) is milking millions of rand while sitting at home. General Phahlane has said on several occasions that he wants to be allowed to do what he was employed for,” Kwinika said.
“Sapu falls short of words to express the dismay and anger at National Police Commissioner General Khehla Sitole, who is out of his depth,” he added.
Phahlane is to appear alongside former Gauteng police boss General Deliwe de Lange; Major-General Nombhuruza Napo; Lieutenant- General Ramahlapi Mokwena, the national divisional commissioner for supply chain management; and Brigadier James Ramanjalum, head of procurement at the SAPS.
They are all out on bail and have said they intended pleading not guilty to the charges.