Police Minister Fikile Mbalula is about to axe embattled acting national police commissioner Lieutenant-General Lesetja Mothiba.
Mbalula’s relationship with Mothiba has collapsed, and he wants the top cop removed from his post with immediate effect.
Reliable sources close to both parties said allegations of Mothiba leading “rogue elements” within SAPS’s crime intelligence are at the centre of the fallout.
Mbalula said on Monday he had “been made aware” of the alleged shenanigans besieging crime intelligence, saying he was “intervening” in the matter, including the alleged appointment of people with criminal records to the department.
“I was at crime intelligence last week, where I was briefed on what is going on. I gave them a set of tasks that I want completed, and I told them I expect feedback in two weeks,” Mbalula asserted, refusing to be drawn on what the “tasks” were.
However, an official who was at the crime intelligence meeting said that Mbalula was “gunning” for Mothiba, as the minister was aware of alleged attempts by Mothiba and his supposed “rogue intelligence operatives” to target him in an elaborate scheme known as Operation Lexus.
“Operation Lexus is operating out of a safe-house in Alberton (Ekurhuleni) and is aimed at framing the minister for the October 2015 murder of businessman Wandile Bozwana,” said the source, who also asked to remain anonymous.
Bozwana, who was the chairperson of the North West Business Forum at the time of his death, died in hospital after being shot in a car while with a female companion.
Mbalula refused to be drawn on Operation Lexus, saying only that he had discussed “the strategic crime fighting plan” within crime intelligence, and how it should strengthen crime-fighting efforts.
National police spokesperson Major-General Sally de Beer said she could neither confirm nor deny the investigations into Mothiba, referring all queries to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid).
The alleged fallout with Mbalula come hot on the heels of recently fired acting head of crime intelligence Major-General Pat Mokushane’s explosive document that accuses Mothiba of lying to Parliament last month when he said Mokushane did not have a security clearance.
Other potential scandals contained in the document include allegations of “inflated rentals of safe-houses which do not match the reduction of crime”; and “unskilled personnel employed” at crime intelligence.
Disgraced former Hawks head Berning Ntlemeza is said to be in cahoots with Mothiba and Mdluli. It is suspected that they misused crime intelligence resources for their own purposes.
“Mothiba has defied minister Mbalula from the very first day he was appointed acting national commissioner (in June),” according to a source at the Police Ministry.Mbalula said he was looking into the allegations about the conduct of crime intelligence and would be briefing President Jacob Zuma in due course.