General Riah Phiyega, you have already been introduced to us and I have to say I am impressed with what you said about your intention to change the tarnished image of the SAPS.
Your CV is distinguished: stints on the boards of a bank and the state rail operator. Your honest upfront admission that you don’t have a policing background is perhaps a small dent in your armour. However, to my mind it’s more professional management that is needed at the highest level in the police.
We hope that you will lead the SAPS by example.
Many of our past police leaders set the pace when it came to crime-fighting and the corruption they created spread like a disease right down to the lower rank-and-file of the service.
Heard of any South African in any area who has not encountered some form of direct or indirect misconduct with a police officer?
When was the last time you saw a policeman walking the beat on the streets?
It simply doesn’t happen.
Occasionally, one will see officers sitting inside the comfort of a police van parked next to food outlets or casually driving somewhere – but even this is a rare sight.
Visit a police station late at night and you will be lucky to find anyone to promptly attend to you and when, or if they do, it’s usually in a “ho-hum” manner. Visit any police station during the day and you will find it overrun by officers falling over each other, so many of them milling around the station.
They should be out, walking the streets, being seen out there as some of our best professionals and setting an example in providing safety to all South Africans.
Observe our true and real policing today, simply put, it’s mostly private.
Private security firms are making a fortune in this industry, why? Is there a need to explain?
I’m sure that all South Africans know that our police force is simply not reliable; it is feared by the honest community but hopeless in curbing the crime rate. They are failures!
I truly and heartily wish you the very best of luck in taking on this mammoth task to rectify the situation.
Rob Celliers, KwaZulu-Natal