How's this for bare-faced cheek from a government spin-doctor?

Bheki Cele at press conference on crime at Wor...

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No so long ago the Sunday Times newspaper in South Africa published a damning investigative report [story with timelines here] about the irregular signing of a R500-million lease agreement which involved the National Police Commissioner Bheki Cele.

After receiving a request by the Director of the South African Institute for Accountability, the Public Protector conducted an investigation which has found the Commissioner guilty of improper conduct, a ruling which most sane people will find grossly under-exaggerates his guilt. There was certainly much more involved in this whole saga, as suggested by the Sunday Times report.

Today, the ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu released this highly amusing statement, following heated calls for the Police Commissioner to be axed:

We note that the violation of public administration laws, in terms of the public protector’s conclusion on the matter, does not necessarily amount to a criminal finding.

He followed up with this absolute howler when requesting all parties to take the…

…necessary corrective action in a manner that restores public confidence in our administration

Here’s the obvious problems which the ANC seemingly have failed to take notice off:

  1. Misconduct and violation of administration laws are deeply frowned upon in the private sector and invariably leads to dismissal and in some cases further criminal prosecution of the offender. In the case where the offender is employed as a servant of the public and has abused both trust and public funds, the offence should be deemed to be doubly [if not more] serious. We should not be baying for the cretins head, but for the rest of his miserable, thieving body too.
  2. How can the ANC seriously expect public confidence to be restored when this is but one of a very long list of transgressions involving corruption? The ANC must surely consider their voters to be seriously ignorant or retarded or both.

Once again, we’re being shown the utter contempt that the ANC has for the people.

Don’t drink and drive…you may run into some police officers who haven’t mastered the decimal system yet

I came across this blog post in Mail & Gaurdian’s Thought Leader titled Fuck the police and realized we’re in much more serious trouble than I thought. I think it’s pretty much accepted by now that our police officers are not the brightest, most honest or competent men in uniform, but it is just plain ludicrous when policemen accountable for handling an alcohol testing instrument cannot tell which is a higher number, 0.04 or 0.010.

On a related note, only recently I wrote about how ANC spokesperson, Jackson Mthembu was arrested for driving under the influence, and how the police at the Mowbray police station were reluctant to process him because of his political connections. Well, it now turns out that there are moves to suspend the use of the Dräger breathalyzer machines (one of which was used to test Mthembu as being over three times the legal limit) because of concerns over its certification and calibration.

This development coming so soon after the arrest has led to suspicions that the ANC-aligned National Prosecuting Authority are trying to influence the outcome of the impending DUI case against Mthembu. It brings back memories about how a certain President escaped prosecution from fraud and corruption charges when the law was conveniently circumnavigated in his favor. Do rats smell?

May I suggest that the entire police force be recalibrated to perform the duties expected of law-keepers, and all our ruling politicians be certified as manipulative, thieving assholes?

The South African Police…diligently serving their political masters since apartheid

In democracies which function properly ie. where elected officials serve the people, headlines such as Nottinghamshire police ranked worst, is not too common, but rather alarming for ordinary people.

Not in South Africa though. In this pessimist-induced society, such headlines are extremely likely to be greeted with comments such as “so what’s new.” Rather than being alarmed, the ordinary person would merely shrug his shoulders, blurt out some derogatory remark aimed at the government, and get on with his life. However, there are others, like myself who would be moved to comment online or write a letter to the editor of a newspaper to express concern or disgust, but would still feel, and actually be generally powerless to do more.

The South African Police as a force across the country, pretty much fares the same in terms of poor performance. I think it’s very probable that the Nottinghamshire guys would stand out like a paragon of excellence when compared to any police unit in South Africa. That is not to say that the South African police is totally useless. Amazingly, there are police officers who do shine, but they are such a small minority, they pale into insignificance when you look at the problems with policing in this country.

While reading that article, I was pointed to a government website run by Her Majesty’s Inspectors of Constabulary, which provides information and statistics on how well the Police in England are performing. The HMIC’s website states its motto as Inspecting Policing in the Public Interest and shows:

  • how safe you are. In South Africa we know this very well; we are not very safe at all, and the police statistics can’t be trusted
  • how much is spent on your police. In South Africa we’ll never know how much is being spent on the police for sure, but we’ll always know how much that should have been spent on the police is actually being frittered away by corrupt and incompetent government officials
  • whether they perform well and if they are likely to improve. In South Africa, the jury is already out on this; the police don’t perform well at all, and it’s highly unlikely they will ever improve given the current political circumstances

We have nothing even remotely close to such a website service in South Africa. In fact, when the Police authorities do release statistics on crime, they are always hounded by accusations of fiddling with the figures and cover-ups, and justifiably so. It’s actually safe to say that the safety and security authorities which fall under the government haven’t got a clue when it comes to crime, and how well the police are performing to combat it, let alone being able to show which units are more effective, or whether our money is being spent effectively.

However, it’s not entirely the fault of the Police services, that we have this grossly unjust situation in the country. The current Police Force is a relic from the days of apartheid. The current ANC-led government inherited a Police Force who were largely trained to police apartheid-era policies; in effect they served the government of the day, not the people. Instead of re-training and de-indoctrinating the police of old to serve the people which would be the right thing to do, the new government neglected to do so. Perhaps it was an oversight in the beginning, but recent events leads one to believe that retaining a police force that serves the government before the people, has become a useful tool of the new ANC-led abomination that masquerades as a government.

Taxpayers money that should be spent on re-tooling and re-educating the Police Force is diverted instead to buying outrageously expensive vehicles (amongst other things) for the dark-suits that controls the police, including the Minister of Police himself; not to mention the ludicrous sums of money the esteemed Minister deems necessary for accommodation at elite hotels around the country, while ostensibly on official business. Money is further wasted on creating private motor-escort and body-guard services within the Police Force, for government officials, reminiscent of crass dictatorships around the world, which buzz around at high speed on public motorways, aggressively forcing ordinary motorists out of the way. Apparently there is no shortage of police thugs to staff these units, and the required behaviour to be a member of these units, is a natural fall-over from the days of apartheid. There are however many other instances of gross misspending which is well documented, so I won’t list them in detail.

Off course, the police themselves don’t seem to be in any hurry to change their behaviour. I think they quite like showing off the power they don’t really have, or deserve. In one unsavory incident not too long ago, a women who did not move out of the way quickly enough, from being in front of one of these thuggish government motorcades, was assaulted at a police station for her tardiness, while many members of the police watched. A student was recently roughed up by the goons from President Zuma’s speeding motorcade for flipping them the bird. Apparently the President does not take too kindly to his people exercising their freedom of expression.

Only just recently the police at Mowbray Police Station in Cape Town were reluctant to process ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu, for driving under the influence of alcohol because he was a high-ranking ANC official. Aparently he was three times over the legal limit. And this is not the first incident of its kind; there were other other incidences where the police deliberately tampered with evidence, and falsified statements to aid governement officials who were unfortunate enough to be caught breaking the law. And breaking the law, seems to be the national passtime for government officials in South Africa, but they generally enjoy special treatment from the custodians of law and order. So you can see why the government is so intent on maintaining the apartheid-era status of the Police Force. The police can be a very convenient ally if you want to hang onto power at all costs.

Policing in South Africa stinks, so if you’re hoping that a service which inspects policing in the public interest is something that we desperately need, you first have to hope that the police start believing they serve the public, instead of the government.