Phiyega muddles her way through speech

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IOL pic jun26 riah phiyega on kloof drug bust Independent Newspapers National police commissioner General Riah Phiyega. File picture: Ian Landsberg

Cape Town - National police commissioner General Riah Phiyega on Wednesday peppered her budget presentation to MPs with a liberal dose of management-speak – from “vertical integration” and “lateral inclusion”, to “detection value chain” and “blue sky focus”.

But at one stage it appeared she was not quite in sync with Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko; while the minister talked of “demilitarising” the police, Phiyega talked of “civilianisation”. Neither actually outlined the steps towards this.

Phiyega said the police had tried to unpack this matter – “Is it rank? Is it conduct? Is it how we do things?” – before telling MPs civilianisation involved a number of things, including the professionalisation of service and embedded trust issues. “We are talking about the feelings of those we are servicing,” Phiyega said.

Her later response to an ANC question on how the police would retain the services of those it sent to the police university, recently opened at Paarl, was similarly off-point.

“We will make sure we will not lose them,” said Phiyega. She emphasised the students, having completed basic training and “a year or two of service”, would be in uniform and march and practise shooting while they studied.

The selection process also included a “two-week police grooming camp where we assess their police DNA”.

Earlier she had told MPs how the police could “policify” young South Africans, without explaining what such a process might entail.

However, several innovations emerged in Phiyega’s approximately 45-minute presentation of about 23 Powerpoint slides, which situated policing within the National Development Plan (NDP), the socio-economic blueprint to reduce poverty and inequality by 2030, the ANC’s election manifesto and leadership promotion strategies like the “The Top 1 500”, an annual gathering of police leaders from station commanders upwards.

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