Outgoing National Police Commissioner General Khehla Sitole has told SABC News that during the July unrest in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal the secret service account within the South African Police Service (SAPS) was not sufficiently funded as the budget had not yet been approved.
He says it was therefore difficult to detect the violence and looting that erupted after the incarceration of former President Jacob Zuma.
Sitole says the violence could have been avoided if their budget was already approved.
“I am not going to disclose much because the secret service account is not a public domain issue, it is discussed in closed sessions. But what I can indicate for now is that, during [the] July [unrest], it [secret service account] was not sufficiently resourced because the budget was not yet approved,” says Sitole.
Sitole has reiterated that his decision to retire was not motivated by being suspended or sacked from the position.
In February, he reached an agreement with President Cyril Ramaphosa to vacate office, despite his contract ending in seven months’ time.
“I am facing a different situation altogether than what they [previous police commissioners] were facing. But my situation with theirs is completely different because I am not fired, I was not suspended. I have been given the opportunity to make a handing over, I will do it tomorrow [Friday, April 1] and bid the service a farewell,” he adds.
Corruption allegations against Sitole
The outgoing top cop says no one expected him to hold the position when he was first appointed by then-President Jacob Zuma in 2017.
He says this is why his tenure has been marked by corruption allegations against him.
General Sitole says some of the media reports about him being corrupt were orchestrated because some people within SAPS did not approve of his appointment.
There were reports that he purchased a surveillance device worth millions of rands because there were reported threats against former President Zuma and some cabinet ministers.
He says it is not surprising that then Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) head Robert McBride was the one who investigated the case.
The country’s police boss says this is because it would seem many people including McBride were eyeing the top position in the SAPS.
After Sitole’s appointment, McBride wrote a report on his investigation and it was tabled before Parliament.
Sitole leaves office after 35 years in the South African Police Service.
The below video is an exclusive interview with General Khehla Sitole: