25/08/2017 06:42 SAST | Updated 25/08/2017 06:44 SAST

Police Under Fire Over New "Zuma Loyalist" Crime Intelligence Boss

But the police have defended the appointment saying Bhoyi Ngcobo has a wealth of experience.

Mike Hutchings / Reuters
REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

The police have shrugged off criticism about the decision to appoint President Jacob Zuma's former head bodyguard Major-General Bhoyi Ngcobo, as the head of crime intelligence, TimesLive reported.

Ngcobo was the head of the VIP protection services in the police and is reportedly a close confidant of the president.

Ngcobo replaces Major-General Pat Mokushane, who acted in the position until it reportedly emerged that he was not properly vetted before being appointed.

Business Day reported on Friday that MPs warned that Zuma was trying to capture the country's crime-fighting capabilities.

On Thursday, police minister Fikile Mbalula said Ngcobo had a "wealth of policing experience". Police spokesman Brigadier Vish Naidoo told TimesLive that Ngcobo came with more than 20 years' worth of policing experience.

"Crime intelligence is a critical environment that needs a leader that is hard working‚ experienced‚ with good leadership qualities and is a person of good standing‚" Naidoo reportedly said.

But MPs are not convinced.

According to Business Day, the DA's Zakhele Mbhele reportedly said it was problematic that people associated with the president were the only ones appointed to senior positions in the police.

"Ngcobo is an example of the string of enmeshed appointments that have been made in police over the years, [that] have directly led to mismanagement and ultimately undermine the fight against crime," said Mbhele.

Freedom Front Plus MP Pieter Groenewald reportedly said Ngcobo's appointment did little to inspire confidence in citizens.

"It is clear that Zuma still wants control over intelligence services as a whole, including SAPS. Citizens will pay the price because crime is clearly getting worse," said Groenewald.