Zuma no criminal - top cop defends choice for Mpumalanga police commissioner
Acting national police commissioner Khomotso Phahlane has defended the appointment of Lt-General Mondli Zuma as provincial police commissioner for Mpumalanga province‚ saying he was no criminal and he had faith in him.
Phahlane said he was troubled by one of their own being referred to as a criminal‚ saying he thought this country subscribed to the principle of innocence until proven guilty.
He said Zuma was cleared of charges of drunken‚ negligent and reckless driving by the courts.
“(Zuma) since went through the related processes‚ went to court and the case was put before him‚ witnesses called and at the end of the trial the presiding officer pronounced that he was not found guilty of any of those charges‚” he said.
These are the charges that led to him serving as Gauteng commissioner for hours in August 2013 when it was revealed that he had failed to declare that he had pending charges to then national police commissioner Riah Phiyega.
He had been charged with four counts after it was alleged he tried to evade a roving anti-alcohol patrol in 2008 in KwaZulu-Natal.
Phahlane said Zuma had nothing to declare then because he did not apply for the position but was appointed.
The charges included failing to stop when ordered to do so‚ drunk-driving‚ attempting to escape from lawful custody and defeating the ends of justice.
During the incident it is alleged he prevented traffic officers from taking a blood sample and locked himself in a house for about two hours. He pleaded not guilty and a court withdrew the charges in 2013. In another controversy he lost his service firearm under suspicious circumstances. According to Talk Radio 702‚ he still faces charges in this case.
But Phahlane said Zuma appeared in the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate's Court in December and pleaded guilty to losing the firearm and paid a fine. He said Zuma lost the firearm when his car was broken into and he reported the firearm missing.
He said the position of provincial commissioner for Mpumalanga was advertised and Zuma applied like anybody else.
“He declared as required‚ the panel was satisfied that the criminal matter was dealt with. We have nothing to hold against him‚” he said.