NMB top cops must be welcomed back to office

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

The Democratic Alliance welcomes the return of three of Nelson Mandela Bay’s top cops, who return to work today.

Humewood station commander, Brigadier Leonie Bentley, Gelvandale station commander, Brigadier Lawrence Soekoe, and Brigadier Ronald Koll, return to work after a two-month suspension without pay.

The emphasis now should be a return to fighting crime, and not squabbles within SAPS. This is what we would expect from a police service that gets the job done.

These three top officers were initially facing dismissal, after a disciplinary committee found them guilty of insubordination for leaving a meeting without permission. Serious questions relating to the charges have since been raised, as evidence clearly showed that they were given permission to leave.

It has also been alleged that other senior officials perjured themselves during the hearing, which subsequently led to the recommendation for dismissal.

After significant public pressure, including a march by the DA and other stakeholders to the Mount Road police station, where a memorandum was handed over, the Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant General Liziwe Ntshinga, set aside the dismissal recommendation. However, Commissioner Ntshinga upheld the charges and issued a lesser sentence of two-month suspension without pay.

The DA has subsequently written to Commissioner Ntshinga, and have asked that the other demands, as set out in the memorandum, are still met.

This includes following up on the allegations of perjury against the other officers, that SAPS must ensure transparency and fairness in the police service and that all promotions must be based on fit for purpose, and not nepotism or racial motivation.

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.