The South African Police Service (SAPS)’s top brass says it is still considering recommendations made by the Public Protector to subject the head of its VIP protection unit, Wally Rhoode, to disciplinary action.
Rhoode and another police officer to whom he allegedly gave instructions have been found to have acted improperly in the investigation of the theft of money from the president’s Limpopo farm, Phala Phala.
On Friday, Acting Public Protector Kholeka Gcaleka recommended that both Rhoode and police officer Hlulani Rekhoto face disciplinary action within 60 days.
But the SAPS has told the publication this process is still under discussion.
In the Public Protector’s investigation of whether President Cyril Ramaphosa breached his oath of office in connection with events at his Phala Phala farm in February 2020, it’s the head of his VIP protection unit, Wally Rhoode, that has come off the worst.
Ramaphosa has said he reported the theft of US dollars to Major-General Wally Rhoode for investigation.
The Public Protector says Rhoode improperly used resources from the presidential protection unit to conduct a cross-border investigation to Namibia, chasing after the president’s money.
She says Sergeant Hlulani Rekhoto can also not claim to have feared insubordination for not carrying out Rhoode’s instructions.
SAPS spokesperson, Athlenda Mathe, says the Public Protector’s recommendation to discipline the pair is still being considered by management.
She adds that internal processes are currently unfolding but has not elaborated on what these are.
The Public Protector has given the SAPS 90 days to develop directives on how the presidential protection services should handle crimes reported directly to it by those under their protection.
Mathe says she also can’t comment on whether Rhoode is facing an internal probe related to a weapons permit debacle in Poland last month because it’s a high-risk operational matter involving the protection of VIPs.
Last month, a chartered plane carrying over 100 presidential protection services members were blocked from disembarking in Poland over permits for weapons on board the aircraft.
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