On Friday it surfaced on the media that South African National Police Commissioner General Riah Phiyega is facing charges of defeating the ends of justice and breaching national security after allegedly informing an unnamed provincial commissioner of an ongoing investigation against him. According to reports, there is evidence that the provincial commissioner in question was receiving financial support from a drug lord in return for helping him evade the law.
Phiyega has denied these allegations. She believes that they are part of a smear campaign aimed at getting rid of her, possibly in retaliation for suspending and launching an investigation against acting divisional commissioner for crime intelligence and protection services Major-General Chris Ngcobo. On Tuesday, Phiyega made an announcement that Ngcobo had been placed on special leave following the emergence of discrepancies in his qualifications.
According to Independent Online, on the 19th of October, Ngcobo instructed crime intelligence officers in Cape Town to open a case against Phiyega after listening to a transcript of a conversation between her and the provincial commissioner, where she apparently tipped him off of an investigation against him. However, Phiyega asserts that the provincial commissioner did not hear of the investigation from her. He phoned her after the details of the investigation somehow landed on his desk in the process of the police gathering information to prepare a response to a parliamentary question on this matter.
Under normal circumstances, if there is an investigation against an official, he or she is expected to step down until the investigation is completed. Although the investigation against her is not yet underway, the South African Police Union (SAPU) has called for her resignation or suspension. However, Phiyega said she will not step down because she has done nothing wrong. The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) is yet to confirm if it has the authority to investigate Phiyega. If the IPID is given a go ahead, Phiyega may be forced to step down as national police commissioner.