Phahlane loses Labour Court appeal against dismissal from the police

Former acting national police commissioner General Kgomotso Phahlane.


Former acting national police commissioner General Kgomotso Phahlane.

  • The Labour Court has dismissed an application by former acting national police commissioner General Kgomotso Phahlane challenging his dismissal.  
  • Phahlane was fired on 30 July after internal investigations were conducted. 
  • The Labour Court said it did not have jurisdiction to entertain the case. 

Former acting national police commissioner General Kgomotso Phahlane has lost a court bid challenging his dismissal from the police.

The Labour Court handed down the judgment on Tuesday and there was no order as to costs.  

Phahlane was fired on 30 July after he was found guilty of elements of dishonesty. He then took the case to the Labour Court, seeking to reverse his dismissal.  

However in his ruling, Judge Andre van Niekerk said the court did not have the jurisdiction to entertain Phahlane’s claim for final relief.   

“At the hearing of the application, I raised the issue of jurisdiction and more particularly, the question whether the court has jurisdiction to entertain a claim for final relief where the case of action is one of unlawfulness.

“The effects of this judgment is that when an applicant alleges that a dismissal is unlawful [as opposed to unfair] there is no remedy under the LRA [Labour Relations Act] and this court has no jurisdiction to make any determination of unlawfulness.

“If a remedy is sought under the LRA, the applicant must categorise the alleged unlawfulness as unfairness.

READ | I remain in the employ of SAPS, with full benefits, says Phahlane

“In so far as the applicant [Phahlane] seeks in the alternative an interim interdict against the confirmation or ratification of the third respondent’s [Lieutenant-General Japie Riet] decision to dismiss him, pending the institution and finalisation of an application to review the Regulation 9 proceedings, this court has jurisdiction to grant interim relief in a matter that may be referred to the court for adjudication in due course, or which is required to be determined by arbitration,” he added.

In 2017, Phahlane was suspended by then-police minister Fikile Mbalula following allegations which impacted on his fitness to hold office. 

On 16 April 2018, the hearing commenced before advocate Terry Motau SC. However, Phahlane had sought to review and set aside Motau’s ruling on a matter of a preliminary nature.

In March 2019, Phahlane was arrested on charges stemming from an IPID investigation into a multimillion-rand blue light tender.

Phahlane and his co-accused – Lieutenant-General Ramahlapi Johannes Mokwena, national divisional commissioner in charge of supply chain management Brigadier James Ramanjalum, former Gauteng police commissioner Deliwe de Lange, Gauteng deputy police commissioner Major-General Nombhuruza Lettie Napo and Major-General Ravichandran Pillay – faces charges of corruption, fraud, forgery and uttering.

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