Top cops not ap­pointed, vi­o­lent crime flour­ishes

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - KAILENE PIL­LAY

THE top po­si­tions of na­tional po­lice com­mis­sioner, head of the Hawks and di­rec­tor of crime in­tel­li­gence are still va­cant and op­po­si­tion par­ties and crime ex­perts have linked the lead­er­ship vac­uum to the rise in vi­o­lent crime.

The de­ci­sion to ap­point the coun­try’s top cop and head of the Hawks lies with Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma.

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 In­sti­tute for Se­cu­rity Stud­ies jus­tice and vi­o­lence pre­ven­tion pro­gramme, said that since 2012, the po­lice bud­get had in­creased by 50% but per­for­mance de­clined. Cur­rently R87 bil­lion has been made avail­able for the po­lice.

Ne­wham said that with the break­down of the struc­ture, or­gan­ised crim­i­nals have 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 no one re­ally had an idea of who may be the con­tenders other than Zuma but he was snub­bing the poli­cies of the cab­i­net and his own party.

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