National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega has withdrawn the appointment of Major General Bethuel Zuma as Gauteng’s new provincial commissioner after it emerged he is facing criminal charges.
Zuma who was appointed at a special briefing in Pretoria today, was reportedly arrested in Pietermaritzburg in September 2008 for alleged drunk driving, not stopping at a road block and refusing to allow traffic officials to test the level of alcohol in his blood.
He appeared in court shortly after his arrest and since then, the case has been withdrawn and reinstated on several occasions.
Phiyega said she only became aware of the charges against Zuma after announcing his appointment.
"I became aware of the court charges against Major General Zuma just after the media briefing today. I immediately met with him to establish the facts. He confirmed that indeed he has appeared several times in court since 2008 when the matter was first heard. He will be appearing again next month."
Phiyega said she will investigate why disciplinary proceedings were not initiated at the time the charges were brought against Zuma.
She said in the time she has known Major General Zuma, he has always come across as a decent, capable and committed police official and leader.
"I am sad and disappointed in Major General Zuma."
In the interim, Lieutenant General Lesetja Mothiba, Divisional Commissioner for Visible Policing, will act as the Provincial Commissioner of Gauteng.