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Cop ditched by Zuma bags top role in KZN

General Nhlanhla ‘Lucky ’ Mkhwanazi.
Nhlanhla ‘Lucky ’ Mkhwanazi General Nhlanhla ‘Lucky ’ Mkhwanazi.
Image: SIMON MATHEBULA / Sunday Times

Former acting national police commissioner Lieutenant General Nhlanhla Lucky Mkhwanazi has made a dramatic comeback as the new acting KwaZulu-Natal police commissioner after he was unceremoniously ditched by former president Jacob Zuma six years ago.

The surprise announcement was made during a media briefing in Durban yesterday by Police Minister Bheki Cele, who is leading security cluster ministers who have been instructed by President Cyril Ramaphosa to deal with political killings in KwaZulu-Natal.

Mkhwanazi is taking over from another acting police commissioner, Major General Bheki Langa, who was appointed after the suspension of provincial police commissioner Lieutenant-General Mammonye Ngobeni over allegations that she had a "cosy relationship" with controversial Durban businessman Thoshan Panday.

Ngobeni has been on suspension for two years, which means the province can't have a permanent police commissioner until her matter has been finalised.

Mkhwanazi, who was appointed to replace Cele as national police commissioner in 2011, was hastily promoted by Zuma to the rank of lieutenant-general in an attempt at damage control after announcing him as a stand-in for Cele, who was suspended at the time.

A year later, Mkhwanazi was also ditched by Zuma, apparently because of a fallout betweenMkhwanazi and his boss Nathi Mthethwa, who was police minister at the time, because of Mkhwanazi's abrasive management style, his anti-corruption crackdown and the handling of former crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli's case.

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