Max does not know his place

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - COMMENT -

YOUR ar­ti­cle, “Max and Pet­ros face off over con­trol of cops” (Week­end Ar­gus, Au­gust 15), refers.

Af­ter Po­lice Com­mis­sioner Mzwandile Pet­ros briefed the pro­vin­cial safety stand­ing com­mit­tee last week, Com­mu­nity Safety MEC Len­nit Max al­legedly told the me­dia that he was “re­spon­si­ble for en­sur­ing the ef­fec­tive and ef­fi­cient work­ing of the po­lice in the prov­ince and that he had the power to di­rect them”.

I did some re­search on present leg­is­la­tion to es­tab­lish the facts.

In terms of sec­tion 6(2) of the Po­lice Ser­vice Act No. 68 of 1995, “there shall be a pro­vin­cial com­mis­sioner of the ser­vice for each prov­ince, who shall be ap­pointed by the Na­tional Com­mis­sioner sub­ject to sec­tion 218(1)(b) of the con­sti­tu­tion”.

Fur­ther­more, in terms of sec­tion 12 (1) of the same Act, “a pro­vin­cial com­mis­sioner shall have com­mand of and con­trol over the ser­vice un­der his or her ju­ris­dic­tion in the prov­ince, and may ex­er­cise the pow­ers and shall per­form the du­ties and func­tions nec­es­sary to give ef­fect to sec­tion 219 of the con­sti­tu­tion”. Max, a for­mer pro­vin­cial po­lice com­mis­sioner him­self, should know this.

Also, sec­tion 2 of our con­sti­tu­tion quite clearly states that “this con­sti­tu­tion is the supreme law of the repub­lic; law or con­duct in­con­sis­tent with it is in­valid, and the obli­ga­tions im­posed by it must be ful­filled”.

There is, there­fore, no ba­sis in law for Max’s em­bar­rass­ing ut­ter­ances and he ap­pears to be un­fa­mil­iar with his mere over­sight role.

Also, in the nor­mal chain of com­mand, Pet­ros does not re­port to Max but to the na­tional com­mis­sioner of po­lice. Pet­ros was there­fore cor­rect when he stated, “op­er­a­tionally, I am the chief ”.

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