Key posts sus­pense mount­ing

De­lay likely un­til ANC meet­ing

Daily News - - NEWS - KAILENE PIL­LAY

OP­PO­SI­TION par­ties and crime ex­perts say they are wait­ing anx­iously for Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma to ap­point a new na­tional po­lice com­mis­sioner and head of the Hawks.

The di­rec­tor of crime in­tel­li­gence post is also va­cant.

Op­po­si­tion par­ties and crime ex­perts have ac­cused Zuma of be­ing “se­cre­tive” and hav­ing “no po­lit­i­cal will” to ap­point com­pe­tent of­fi­cers to the top po­si­tions.

Gareth Ne­wham, head of the ISS jus­tice and vi­o­lence pre­ven­tion pro­gramme, said that since 2012 the po­lice bud­get had in­creased by 50%, but per­for­mance had de­clined. Cur­rently, R87 bil­lion has been made avail­able for the po­lice.

Ne­wham said that with the break­down of the struc­ture, or­gan­ised crim­i­nals had be­come “bolder and more vi­cious”.

The SAPS na­tional com­mis­sioner is an all-pow­er­ful po­si­tion, and that per­son has the fi­nal say on al­most all de­ci­sions in the or­gan­i­sa­tion.

“It is not that there aren’t ex­cel­lent po­lice com­man­ders, but the pres­i­dent re­fuses to ap­point them,” Ne­wham said. “Only one per­son can fix this, and that is the pres­i­dent, but he is not in­ter­ested in ap­point­ing a highly skilled per­son for the job.” He said that no one had an idea of who might be the con­tenders for the top spots other than Zuma, “but at the mo­ment, he is snub­bing the poli­cies of the cab­i­net and his own po­lit­i­cal party”.

“If he was fol­low­ing those poli­cies, then the pub­lic would know who the con­tenders were. De­ci­sions are taken in se­cret and we just have to wait and see if he fol­lows the road to dis­as­ter again,” Ne­wham said.

The DA’s deputy spokesper­son on po­lice, Dianne Kohler Barnard, be­lieves the new per­ma­nent ap­point­ments in the SAPS, Hawks and Crime In­tel­li­gence will be “po­lit­i­cal”.

De­ci­sion

She said the re­sults of lack of lead­er­ship in the po­lice ser­vice have been “cat­a­strophic”, and pre­dicted Zuma would only make ap­point­ments known af­ter the ANC con­fer­ence in De­cem­ber.

“At this point, any de­ci­sion made could af­fect the con­fer­ence,” she said.

Kohler Barnard said the lack of lead­er­ship and waves of dis­as­ter in the po­lice ser­vices started af­ter the ap­point­ment of Jackie Selebi as na­tional po­lice com­mis­sioner in 2000.

“Since then, there has just been no lead­er­ship.”

Cur­rently act­ing as na­tional po­lice com­mis­sioner since June this year is Lieu­tenant-Gen­eral Le­sethja Moth­iba, who re­placed Lt-Gen Kgo­motso Pha­lane.

With 35 years of ex­pe­ri­ence un­der his belt, Moth­iba held a num­ber of top man­age­ment po­si­tions, in­clud­ing na­tional head of vis­i­ble polic­ing and Gaut­eng com­mis­sioner. Vi­o­lence mon­i­tor in KZN Mary de Haas said the state of polic­ing in the coun­try was in a “sham­bles”.

“There is no real lead­er­ship in the polic­ing ser­vices and it boils down to po­lit­i­cal in­ter­fer­ence. Peo­ple are in man­age­ment who should not be there, and were placed be­cause of po­lit­i­cal in­ter­fer­ence,” De Haas said.

She said man­age­ment was “top-heavy, dys­func­tional and un­ac­count­able”.

Cur­rently, the head of the po­lice anti-cor­rup­tion agency is Gen­eral King Bhoyi Ng­cobo, who was once a trusted body­guard to Zuma.

De Haas said that an of­fi­cer with a reputation for se­cur­ing High Court con­vic­tions was needed as head of the Hawks.

Cur­rently, the act­ing di­rec­tor of the Hawks is Lt-Gen Yolisa Matakata, who was ap­pointed in April 2017 by Min­is­ter Fik­ile Mbalula. She was for­merly the deputy na­tional head of the Hawks and for­mer Western Cape Hawks boss.

Vet­eran in­ves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ist Jac­ques Pauw’s book, The Pres­i­dent’s Keep­ers, claims Zuma in­stalled “stooges” at key law en­force­ment agen­cies.

Pauw said any­one who tried to in­ves­ti­gate and re­veal cor­rup­tion was tar­geted through dis­missals, intimidation, de­mo­tions, trumped-up charges and end­less court cases.

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