AFRICAN MIRROR REPORTER
LIEUTENANT-GENERAL Bonang Christine Mgwenya, South Africa’s deputy national police commissioner – the most senior female officer in the land – has been fired.
National Police Commissioner Khehla Sitole fired Mgwenya after she was arrested for fraud, corruption and theft involving an R191-million tender.
Mgwenya, who rose through the ranks of the police over three decades, has appeared in the Palm Ridge Special Crimes Court where she was granted bail of R20 000.
She is the 13th accused in a trial in which nine other senior police officers face charges relating to the supply of emergency warning equipment for the South African Police Service in a tender worth R191-million.
Mgwenya joins other senior police officers in the dock including, former national police commissioner Khomotso Phahlane, former Gauteng police commissioner Deliwe de Lange, Gauteng deputy police commissioner Nombhuruza Lettie Napo, retired divisional commissioner Lieutenant-General Ramahlapi Johannes Mokwena, Brigadier James Ramajalum, Major General Ravichandran Pillay, Colonel Thomas Dumas Marima and Sergeant Maetapese Joseph Mulaiwa.
The senior police officers have been charged together with Vimpie Manthatha, whose company Instrumentation for Traffic Law Enforcement, was awarded a contract to supply and install blue lights, sirens and radios in SAPS vehicles. Judy Rose and Samantha Andrews are the other two civilians in the dock.
Police Minister Bheki Cele today said he was saddened by the arrests of the country’s senior police officers. “It’s a situation that leaves you sad but again, it will leave you perplexed if nothing was done. We just wish that it goes to court and the court tells us what really happened. And we are not about the stop,” Cele said.
Mgwenya has been celebrated in the police force as a pioneer paving way for other women.
Starting off as a personal assistant and public relations officer, she soon went on to become the Chief of Staff and thereafter, the Head of Employee Relations and Life Cycle Management within Human Resource Management and served as the acting Divisional Commissioner in Personnel Services.
She co-founded the SAPS Women’s Network whose purpose was to promote the work of women in the SAPS as well as to empower them.
She was currently serving as chairperson of the following SAPS committees, the Human Resource committee, Monetary and Non-Monetary Awards, Death Grants, Medical Incapacity Adjudication committee, South African Police Education Trust Executive committee and the deputy chairperson for the Transformation Task Team.
She was also the national chairperson of the COVID-19 steering committee.