'Nobody is above the law': Police chief on latest arrest of high-ranking cop

Gen Khehla Sitole was speaking after deputy national commissioner Lt-Gen Bonang Mgwenya appeared in court on multiple graft charges

Deputy national commissioner Lt-Gen Bonang Mgwenya in the Palm Ridge magistrate's court where she faced charges of corruption, fraud and money laundering linked to a lucrative SAPS tender.
Deputy national commissioner Lt-Gen Bonang Mgwenya in the Palm Ridge magistrate's court where she faced charges of corruption, fraud and money laundering linked to a lucrative SAPS tender.
Image: Sebabatso Mosamo/Sunday Times

National police commissioner Gen Khehla Sitole has lauded the arrest of one of his deputies on Monday.

Deputy national commissioner for human resource management Lt-Gen Bonang Mgwenya appeared in court on Monday for her alleged role in a multimillion-rand SAPS “blue lights” tender dating back three years.

She is now the  13th accused in the tender fraud cause.

Mgwenya appeared at the Palm Ridge magistrate's court after being arrested at her home in the early hours of the morning. She was released on bail and indicated she would plead not guilty to all charges.

Sitole pledged his support for efforts aimed at rooting out criminality within the police service, stating that “nobody is above the law”.

“My position regarding criminality by members within the ranks of the SAPS has been made clear by the arrest of a multitude of SAPS members by a task team reporting to me on investigations into vehicle-marking-tender fraud, as well as our support for the ID in respect of the blue-light-tender fraud investigation,” said Sitole. 

Mgwenya and other suspects who were recently arrested join former national police commissioner Khomotso Phahlane, former Gauteng police commissioner Deliwe de Lange, Gauteng deputy police commissioner Nombhuruza Lettie Napo, Lt-Gen Ramahlapi Johannes Mokwena (retired divisional commissioner), Brig James Ramanjalum, Maj-Gen Ravichandran Pillay, Col Thomas Dumas Marima and Sgt Maetapese Joseph Mulaiwa.

Others who are also allegedly involved are Judy Rose, Samantha Andrews, Vimpie Manthata and a company represented by its director.

They all face similar charges.

Sitole added that interventions had been put in place to ensure service delivery in the absence of Mgwenya.

Speaking at a press conference on Monday, police minister Bheki Cele said: “I repeat that whenever a member of the SA Police Service, it doesn't matter who or what rank is, is arrested, it doesn’t give us comfort. It's not a good feeling, but it's correct.

“It's correct that when a case has been investigated and it's found that somebody has done something wrong, it's correct to arrest that person. It's a sad feeling, no doubt about it. Especially the latest arrests.”

He said he received the information about Mgwenya's arrest on Monday morning.

“It's a situation that leaves you sad but, again, it will leave you perplexed if the right thing is not done. We just wish that it continues, goes to court and the court tells us what really happened,” he said.

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