National police commissioner General Riah Phiyega, has started an internal investigation against the head of Mpumalanga’s Hawks unit following his arrest in May for alleged travel claim fraud.
Major-General Simon Mapiane was not suspended when he was arrested, prompting the Democratic Alliance (DA) to question Phiyega’s decision.
National police spokesperson Lieutenant-General Solomon Makgale said Phiyega had appointed Free State police commissioner Lieutenant-General Khehla Sithole to look into the matter.
“This will be sorted out very soon. [Sithole] will give a report to [Phiyega] setting out clearly what needs to be done internally,” Makgale said.
Mapiane is out on free bail, and is still performing his duties. His unit has been cracking some of the biggest government corruption cases, which include the R1.2 billion Mbombela stadium and the R1.2 billion security tender for government buildings.
Mpumalanga DA leader Anthony Benadie said Mapiane should be suspended in the interest of the public and the morale of the police – with or without remuneration – until the criminal case and internal investigation into his actions had been concluded.
“The DA has, on two occasions, written to General Phiyega calling for Mapiane’s suspension, and both times we received a vague reply that the matter is under internal investigation,” Benadie said.
He said the party would write to Phiyega again to inform her of the DA’s interpretation of the law.
Mapiane is not the only senior cop to be charged for alleged travel claim fraud by Lieutenant-General Thulani Ntobela in recent times.
Major-General Thembi Hadebe, a deputy provincial commissioner, was charged late last year for alleged fraud relating to claiming accommodation and travel expenses for a private trip at the state’s expense.
Hadebe was acquitted in court.
Vusi Mdakane, former Nelspruit group commanding officer, was dismissed for fraudulent claims worth R1 500.
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