Acting crime intelligence head Chris Ngcobo. Picture: Saps.
JOHANNESBURG - The South African Police Service has confirmed acting Crime Intelligence head, Major-General Chris Ngcobo, has been placed on special leave, after irregularities were found in his stated qualifications.
National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega on Tuesday expressed disappointment that Ngcobo was found to have lied on official records about which qualifications he possesses.
"It is... with a huge sense of disappointment that during a vetting process discrepancies were found between the declaration made by Major-General Chris Ngcobo and official records pertaining to his qualifications," Phiyega said in a statement.
Senior Researcher at the Institute of Security Studies&39; Government, Crime and Justice division, Johan Burger, said Phiyega deserved credit for following through with her plan to carry out a survey of police officers.
"One should really credit Riah Phiyega for putting in practice what she promised," Burger said.
But the news about Ngcobo was "a serious indictment against top officers in the police service," he added.
"The Crime Intelligence division is currently in a state of absolute chaos, given the number of officers on suspension," Burger said, listing a string of names, including Ngcobo&39;s controversial predecessor, Richard Mdluli.
Mdluli was head of the division from 2009 to 2012, before being suspended after charges of fraud, corruption and murder were laid against him.
They were subsequently withdrawn, but a court has recently ruled to reinstate them.
"This says something about the calibre of the people in top positions in (law enforcement)," Burger said.
The SAPS tweeted about Phiyega&39;s decision earlier in the day.
Maj Gen Ngcobo has so far failed to explain qualification discrepancies in satisfactory manner and was placed on special leave by Phiyega— SA Police Service (@SAPoliceService) October 22, 2013
Phiyega said Ngcobo&39;s top secret security clearance had been denied and that a criminal investigation and disciplinary action will be taken against him.
"I want to ensure that this matter is dealt with swiftly," she said.
Phiyega has appointed Major-General Dr Bongiwe Zulu to replace Ngcobo for the time being.
Zulu has served with the SAPS for 11 years, three of which were spent in Crime Intelligence.
Ngcobo isn&39;t the only senior police official slapped with disciplinary action in recent weeks.
General Phiyega has also instructed that an internal disciplinary process be initiated against Major General Simon Mapyane of Mpumalanga— SA Police Service (@SAPoliceService) October 22, 2013
Last month, senior KwaZulu-Natal police official, Vincent Mdunge, resigned amid allegations he did not have a matric certificate.
"The police will have to look again at the system in place that examines background checks," Burger said, adding that it is no longer thorough enough to simply ask candidates to supply certificates as proof of academic degrees completed.
- Editor&39;s note: this article has been updated to include analyst comment.
- Additional reporting Sapa