Provincial Commissioner’s intervention in Mandela Bay Brigadiers dismissal does not go far enough

Issued by Marshall von Buchenroder, MPL
Member of the Safety and Security Portfolio Committee

The Democratic Alliance welcomes the announcement this afternoon that the provincial commissioner has decided not to proceed with the dismissal of three of Nelson Mandela Bay’s top brigadiers.

Earlier today I lead a march in Nelson Mandela Bay to demand fairness in the Nelson Mandela Bay Police Service, following the Disciplinary Committee recommendation to dismiss Humewood station commander Brigadier Leonie Bentley, Gelvandale station commander Brigadier Lawrence Soekoe and Brigadier Ronald Koll.

I was accompanied by the DA Leader in the Provincial Legislature, Bobby Stevenson, MPL, and DA Northern Areas Constituency Leader, Yusuf Cassim, MPL, to the Mount Road police station, where I handed over a memorandum to the SAPS, that called for, amongst others, the Disciplinary Committee’s decision be reviewed and set aside.

However, as was confirmed in correspondence to me this afternoon, these Brigadiers are now facing a two-month suspension without pay.

This is simply unacceptable, as evidence indicates the charges against them have no merit.

The DA believes it is still imperative that the demands, as set out in the memorandum handed over this morning, are still met.

These include ensuring that these members are allowed to return to their duties by Friday, 7 May 2021, and that the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID), must start investigating the circumstances leading up to the disciplinary cases against these brigadiers, including evidence that was led by senior officials, who have allegedly committed perjury through their testimony.

Those who are implicated in committing perjury in relation to the disciplinary cases must be suspended, pending the outcome of the IPID’s investigation.

The DA believes that what is needed is an honest and reliable police service, and will continue to monitor the situation in Nelson Mandela Bay SAPS leadership closely.