Police Minister Fikile Mbalula has dismissed media reports that he orchestrated a plot to defraud Crime Intelligence.
Sunday newspapers reported that the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) is conducting an investigation into a failed plot, which would have seen Crime Intelligence funds pay for votes at the African National Congress (ANC) elective conference in December 2017.
According to these reports, Ipid suspects that Minister Mbalula, his advisor Bongani Mbindwane and National Police Commissioner Khehla Sitole were involved in the scheme. All parties have strongly rejected these claims.
“Let me make it categorically clear that the idea that I would summon police generals into a corruption plotting meeting is an insult to me and the generals, who are outstanding law enforcers. I did not attend any such meetings whatsoever. I condemn and deny the allegations with the contempt they deserve,” the Minister said on Tuesday.
Besides his normal functions as Minister, Mbalula said he was also assigned ANC work, which he reported directly to ANC officials and the conference steering committee.
“I did not hold any meeting with SAPS or parties associated with SAPS at NASREC and certainly did not buy any votes or attempt to. The allegations against myself, the senior police management and National Security Advisor Bongani Mbindwane are not a surprise, as more of these are expected.”
The Minister said the allegations come from “purveyors of paranoia and information peddlers”.
The ANC conference, according to the Minister, went ahead without any undue influence or vote buying, as the delegates were of “high discipline”.
As such, Minister Mbalula emphasised that there was no money exchange in the conference venue or at the delegates’ places of accommodation.
Rooting out corruption
Minister Mbalula emphasized that since being appointed the Minister of Police, his focus has been stabilising the ministry as a whole, including SAPS, IPID and the Hawks (Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation).
“SAPS and IPID are intertwined in their work and I was very concerned about the instability there. That is why I acted swiftly in making sure that General Phahlane steps aside to enable IPID the freedom to do their work and indeed afford General Phahlane enough time to defend himself.”
Likewise in the Hawks, the Minister said he restored stability with the removal of General Ntlemeza.
“SAPS Crime Intelligence has also been my focus, with the overhang of General Mdluli all behind us and the allegations of corruption and abuse of power there, which I am attending to,” Minister Mbalula said.
The independence of IPID and protection of all its personnel to do their work without any hindrance is a cornerstone of democracy and human rights policing, the Minister stressed.
In this light, he said they are proceeding fast with the amendments to the IPID Act, as ordered by the Constitutional Court.
Minister Mbalula said he fully supports the work of IPID and its executive director, with whom he has a good working relationship.
“Policing in South Africa must be depoliticized, it must be stripped of paranoia, corruption and exploiting of ANC factional politics.
“The Ministry has a very busy calendar in the fight against abuse of State power, corruption, criminality and crime syndicates and shall not be derailed nor disrupted by spurious and political allegations,” said the Minister.
He encouraged senior management not to be demoralised by what he described as a smear campaign.