Kingdom Mabuza and Ido lekota

Kingdom Mabuza and Ido lekota

President Kgalema Motlanthe cannot just fire Police Commissioner Jackie Selebi, as some political parties suggest.

This is the view of law academic and practitioner George Phatudi.

Phatudi says Motlanthe cannot simply replace Selebi. He will have to wait until the Commissioner's contract expires.

He, however, pointed out that an internal inquiry could be set in motion parallel to the criminal case Selebi is facing. If found guilty in such an inquiry, Selebi could be fired, depending on the severity of his "misconduct", says Phatudi.

In terms of the SAPS Act, Motlanthe could establish a board of inquiry if Cabinet has lost confidence in Selebi.

If the commission - to be headed by a High Court judge - finds that Cabinet has indeed lost confidence in Selebi, it could recommend to Motlanthe, among others, that his services be terminated.

Selebi could also be fired if he is found guilty of the criminal charges he is facing.

"If the charges he is found guilty of are found to relate to breaching his conditions of employment, then Motlanthe can fire him," says Phatudi.

Selebi has been on paid leave for a year after he was charged with corruption and defeating the ends of justice.

He allegedly accepted a R1,2 million bribe from murder accused Glen Agliotti, and released information to drug syndicates about investigations.

Safety and security minister Nathi Mthethwa has written to Motlanthe suggesting that he appoint a permanent police commissioner.

Tim Williams has been acting since Selebi went on leave.

However, constitutional expert Shadrack Gutto believes that Motlanthe does have the prerogative to fire Selebi.

Gutto said Motlanthe could remove Selebi from office without going through a similar process taken to remove former NPA head Vusi Pikoli.

Pikoli was fired after the Ginwala Commission found that he was not sensitive to national security in carrying out his duties.