FORMER Acting national police commissioner Khomotso Phahlane says he agreed to being removed from the position and he will now focus on clearing his name.
He was removed from the position on Thursday and replaced by Lt General Lesetja Mothiba.
“Today [Thursday] I had a constructive engagement with the Minister of Police, Mr Fikile Mbalula, in Cape Town. During this engagement I agreed to step aside as the Acting National Commissioner of the South African Police Service with immediate effect,” he said.
However, Mbalula on his side added that Phahlane would have to give reasons why he should not be suspended from his other position.
The minister further added that the investigations against Phahlane played a role in his removal.
Phahlane has been at loggerheads with the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID). The unit has been investigating Phahlane for defeating the ends of justice.
The investigation relates to a house built in an upmarket estate in Pretoria. The affordability of the house and his fleet of cars believed to be in the region of R 8 million raised eyebrows. Since then, Phahlane and Ipid head Robert McBride have been exchanging blows in public.
On Wednesday McBride claimed Phahlane had authorised a raid of the Ipid offices. On the same day, two Ipid investigators involved in Phahlane’s case appeared in court in on allegations of fraud.
Things, however, did not happen in that manner. Phahlane was shown the door the next day. But it appears as though the fight is between Phahlane and police watchdog is far from over. He said he would now be focusing on clearing his name.
“Stepping aside as the Acting National Commissioner will afford me space to focus on defending myself against the accusations levelled against me. I remain committed to my calling, which I actioned at the age of 17 years, to serve and protect. I will continue to contribute to the safety and security of the people of our country,” he said.
Phahlane congratulated Mothiba on his appointment and said he believed he would lead the organisation well.
“Lt Gen Mothiba is a seasoned, experienced police officer and I have no doubt that he will lead the SAPS with integrity and vigour. There is a committed management team in place in the South African Police Service and I extend my most sincere appreciation to them for their dedication during my period as Acting National Commissioner. The support received from stakeholders and communities is also greatly appreciated. Ensuring the safety and security of all people in South Africa remains of the uppermost importance,” he said.