Deputy President David Mabuza says he will not challenge the decision made by President Cyril Ramaphosa to serve national police commissioner Khehla Sitole with a suspension notice.
The Presidency confirmed in a statement on Thursday that Ramaphosa had, in terms of Section 8(3) of the South African Police Service Act, invited Sitole to make representations on his notice to suspend him.
Sitole came under fire following a Pretoria high court ruling in January by Judge Norman Davis, who found the commissioner and two of his deputies had failed in their duties by refusing to provide and declassify documents required by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) for its investigations into allegations of fraud and corruption.
The case is reportedly linked to claims involving a money-laundering scheme to illegally access police funds and disburse them to buy votes at the ANC’s national elective conference in 2017.
The allegations also involve claims related to the procurement of a R45 million surveillance device known as a “grabber” that is used to intercept electronic communications.
The police commissioner and his deputies appealed the case but their application was dismissed.
Ramaphosa said in a statement on Thursday that he deemed it “appropriate” to institute a board of inquiry into the commissioner’s alleged misconduct and fitness to hold office.
Responding to a question on what he thought of the President’s decision, Mabuza said he believed Ramaphosa had a solid reason to serve the commissioner with a suspension notice.
“The decision rests with the President and I’m not going to challenge the observation of the President. I always believe in his wisdom and he’s a man who is above petty conflicts. If he takes a decision, it means there is a real reason why he took that decision,” he told SABC News.
Additional reporting by Thapelo Lekabe