The acting station commissioner of Hillbrow Police Station looks set to take the rap for organising a farewell party for the top cop in the province – at an alegedly notorious Johannesburg brothel owner’s house.
The Saturday Star reported the office of the national police commissioner’s confirmed Friday night that Colonel Koos van Rhyn was under investigation after former Gauteng police commissioner Lieutenant-General Perumal Naidoo attended the function at Alan Kukard’s house in Houghton nine days ago to receive an award as a token of the Hillbrow police cluster’s appreciation of his work and leadership.
Naidoo officially retired at the weekend tomorrow after 37 years service, which began as a beat constable in Chatsworth. The paper said he was taking early retirement, “apparently on the grounds of ill health.” Thursday night, Naidoo said he didn’t want to talk about the matter, except to say that he had approached his lawyers.
Meanwhile Gauteng police say Naidoo’s post has been advertised and Major General Henriette Bester is acting provincial commissioner.
Naidoo was close to former national police commissioner Jackie Selebi who is currently being sentenced for corruption in the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg. After his conviction, Selebi’s chief accuser, Paul O’Sullivan, said he would next target the police boss’ acolytes, including Naidoo. Eyewitness News reported O’Sullivan was head of airport security during Selebi’s tenure and initiated the probe into Selebi’s dealings backed by a dossier. In an interview on 702 Talkradio he also accused Gauteng police commissioner Perumal Naidoo and deputy national police commissioner Andre Pruis of perjury, saying they had lied under oath to protect Selebi. Naidoo refused to comment on the allegation when contacted by the radio station.
he Saturday broadsheet said Van Rhyn was been fingered in a letter written by Tebogo Merafhe, president of the National Rental Association of South Africa, as having a cosy relationship with Kukard, who owns two hotels “which are openly run as brothels.” Merafhe claimed Van Rhyn was a key member of the so-called Hillbrow Mafia.
Paena Galane, spokesperson for Deputy Police Minister Fikile Mbalula, confirmed that the ministry had been informed of numerous allegations concerning Van Rhyn and Kukard, but said the ministry would wait for the outcome of the internal police investigation before acting. The Independent Complaints Directorate said it would take its lead from the national police commissioner’s office.
The investigation into Van Rhyn comes hot on the heels of a crackdown on corrupt police officers. A total of 15 officers have been arrested countrywide in a 24-hour blitz for a variety of offences, including armed robbery, the Saturday Star added. National police commissioner General Bheki Cele issued a blunt warning to crooked police officers at a memorial service on Thursday for the seven officers who died in a helicopter crash while responding to a robbery in Emalahleni (Witbank) last Friday, saying he would not tolerate corruption or dereliction of duty in any form and would be ruthless in eradicating it.
Deputy Police Commissioner Lieutenant-General Arno Lamoer said the message from the top brass was clear. “If you don’t feel like being in this organisation, pick up, walk and go. We don’t need criminals. We are here to fight crime and serve our community,” he said.
Democratic Alliance member of the Gauteng Provincial Legislature Jack Bloom said Hillbrow was renowned as a hotbed of vice and corruption and there was a strong suspicion of police corruption during raids.
Many of Selebi’s lieutenants, including former crime intelligence head Mulangi Mphego and head of investigations Tim Williams, have already left the police. Pruis, who headed World Cup security was said to be retiring when the tournament finished, the Mail & Guardian reported last month.
Pic: Gauteng police head office, Parktown, Johannesburg