Mpumalanga Police Commissioner Afrika Khumalo, who became ill shortly after being implicated in an international drug-trafficking racket in March, may not head the provincial force for much longer.
The South African Police Service has advertised Khumalo's post in a Sunday newspaper.
Khumalo's spokesman, Superintendent Sibongile Nkosi, obviously realised the matter was too hot for her to handle and referred all enquiries to national Police Director Selby Bokaba. He sounded surprised at the news.
"I'm hearing this for the first time," Bokaba said. "Anyway, I'm not around, I'm in Sweden."
Bokaba referred Sowetan to Senior Superintendent Lindela Mashego, who said the post was being advertised as part of the SAPS's internal restructuring process. But Khumalo was still employed by the SAPS.
"Many people have acted in that post before," Mashego said yesterday. "Management felt the post should be advertised - but the commissioner is still in the employ of the SAPS."
Khumalo has not reported for work since march as a result of an undisclosed illness. His sick leave has been extended on several occasions.
"The commissioner's sick leave has been extended to incapacity leave," Nkosi said.
Khumalo, who continues to receive his salary, went on sick leave days after Glenn Agliotti, implicated in drug trafficking, mentioned his name in a sworn statement against suspended national police commissioner, Jackie Selebi.
An affidavit given to the national prosecuting authority implicated Khumalo in having links with the underworld, especially in Mozambique.