Phahlane backs cop who used helicopter to fly to Wimpy
Jan-Jan Joubert And Bianca Capazorio | 2017-05-29 10:12:50.0
Northern Cape police commissioner Risimati Shivuri. File photo
Image by: AMBROSE PETERS
Northern Cape police commissioner Risimati Shivuri‚ who used the province’s only police helicopter to fly to Wimpy and to retrieve a jacket‚ has the backing of national police commissioner Khomotso Phahlane.
Shivuri will‚ however‚ still have to explain himself after the DA laid a complaint at the independent police investigative inspectorate.
The Sunday Times reported that Shivuri flew four kilometres to have breakfast at the Wimpy in Colesberg while the ANC’s Northern Cape elective conference was taking place two weeks ago‚ and also sent the helicopter on a 30 kilometer trip to retrieve a jacket he had forgotten at the Gariep Dam.
Northern Cape police spokesman Mohale Ramatseba earlier denied that Shivuri flew 4 kilometres to have breakfast at Colesberg’s Wimpy‚ but witnesses at the restaurant confirmed the bizarre events.
“Good heavens‚ sir‚ of course I saw it. A helicopter landing next to our town’s Wimpy for breakfast isn’t something one easily forgets‚” a Colesberg resident said this week.
The events also came up during parliamentary discussions on supply chain management and procurement in the police committee last week.
Deputy national police commissioner Stefan Schutte told Parliament that‚ while an investigation into the use of the helicopter should be allowed to run its course‚ “shooting from the hip from my side‚ that would not have been appropriate”.
However‚ the country’s top cop disagreed with his deputy‚ and was backing Shivuri all the way‚ although he refused to confirm or deny the Wimpy and jacket retrieving trips‚ and refused to release the details contained in the helicopter’s log book.
“You are asking too much. I will not make the log book available. It will only be made available to the authorities which have to audit our actions‚” said Phahlane.
“In our view there is no dispute that Commissioner Shivuri was executing his responsibilities as is his mandate. At all times he was in the vicinity of the event he was policing. The Gariep Dam‚ the Colesberg Wimpy and all other locations allegedly visited by him are in the proximity of the ruling party conference he was policing‚” said Phahlane.
“I am satisfied with the explanation he included in a report to me. I have no reason to doubt him‚” said Phahlane.
When asked repeatedly whether he was specifically satisfied with the Wimpy and jacket retrieving trips‚ Phahlane said: “I will not stoop so low as to discuss the nitty gritty.”
The DA has challenged Northern Cape MEC for transport and safety Alexandra Beukes to produce the log book of the helicopter.
“We have written a letter to MEC Beukes‚ asking her to use her executive powers to make public the helicopter’s flight log and have also forwarded the new information received to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid)‚” said DA MPL Melinda Hattingh.