Durban-Acting national police commissioner Khomotso Phahlane served Ngobeni with notice of intention to suspend last month‚ and on Thursday she received her official letter of suspension.
Speaking to TMG Digital on Thursday‚ Ngobeni said: “Yes my dear. I’m on suspension from tomorrow [Friday]. Thanx for asking. Further enquiries please liaise with head office.”
Ngobeni had agreed to an exclusive interview for Friday afternoon or the following morning‚ but changed her mind at the last minute.
Speaking to TMG Digital on Saturday morning‚ Ngobeni’s policeman husband Lucas Ngobeni confirmed that papers would be lodged during the course of the week.
“We have spoken to our lawyers and will be challenging the suspension in court. It will happen some time next week‚” he said.
Ngobeni’s suspension comes amid allegations of a “possible corrupt relationship” with controversial Durban businessman Thoshan Panday‚ who was accused of forking out R20‚000 for Lucas Ngobeni’s birthday party in 2010. Panday was also allegedly involved in a R60-million SAPS tender scam. He has fervently denied all the allegations against him.
In a text message this week‚ Panday said: “While I do not applaud the suspension‚ as a democracy and country that believes in due process‚ it would be important that Lt-Gen Mmamonnye Ngobeni is given the opportunity to put forward the truth of the matter. Then the issue can be put to rest finally.”
Police watchdog body the Independent Police Investigative Directorate confirmed this week that it has recommended disciplinary against officers‚ including Ngobeni‚ after an investigation launched – at the request of the DA – last year. However‚ the organisation would not provide details of their findings.
Opposition parties have welcomed Ngobeni’s suspension‚ saying it was long overdue.
However‚ trade union Popcru said this was part of a purge of senior officers by Phahlane‚ who spokesman Richard Mamabolo accused of taking aim at people aligned to suspended national commissioner Riah Phiyega. SAPS has denied the allegation.