Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa says the appointment of dodgy police officers could be prevented by tightening police screening systems.
His comments follow the appointment of Major General Mondli Zuma as Gauteng police boss on Saturday and the subsequent withdrawal of the appointment on the same day.
National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega fired Zuma after it emerged that he was facing criminal charges for drunk driving and escaping from lawful custody in Pietermaritzburg.
Speaking to City Press on the sidelines of the presidential breakfast this morning, Mthethwa said the incident had prompted introspection on the part of the police service to check if its systems are able to pick up such people.
“It could be prevented through people being upfront and upright, especially at that level or any other level,” he said.
Mthethwa said after he had initiated an audit to establish how many officers have criminal records, he wrote to police bosses reminding them of their obligations in terms of the regulations to report incidents of police officers who have pending court cases.
He said it was still the responsibility of police officers who had a brush with the law to report such incidents to their commanders, even if charges are eventually dropped.
“We need to look at the instruments we have to see if they are able to detect some of these things,” he said.
Phiyega has come under fire for failure to pick up previous newspaper reports that Zuma had been on the wrong side of the law.
Dianne Kohler Barnard, the DA spokesperson on police issues, said the police commissioner should be sacked as the gaffe showed “that she is totally out of her depth and is taking the SAPS down with her”.
She said she would write a letter to President Jacob Zuma to request that he establishes a board of inquiry to probe Phiyega’s fitness for office and her ability to perform her duties.
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