The following is in response to “66 LEAP officers axed after failing driving and firearms tests” and “City stands ground on firing LEAP officers, who are mostly black and women”:
Here are headlines you never see in South Africa: “Teachers dismissed because they can’t teach” or “Police officers fired for fitness failure”. You never see these headlines because it has somehow come to be considered wrong to enforce accountability in the public service.
As standards have slipped further and further in the public service, South Africa has become accustomed to mediocrity. That explains a lot of what is wrong in our country.
Examples abound - 30% pass rates, police officers who bungle crime scenes - and the only victims are the public, who get poorer service and higher taxes.
Instead, we should be setting an unashamedly higher standard, and we will strive to do this in Cape Town.
Recently the City of Cape Town did the right thing and dismissed some trainee law enforcement officers because some of them could not pass their firearm competency tests, and others their drivers test.
Put simply, they could not meet the basic requirements for keeping the public safe, which is the fundamental job of a law enforcement officer.
We are committed to making Cape Town a safer place, and that means we must only hire the best and most capable of the many thousands of people who apply. It goes without saying that some of those who apply will not make it through our rigorous training. This means the public gets the best, as it should be.
These trainee officers had several chances and ample opportunity to pass these tests. But what the City would not agree to, is to lower the standards so that they could keep their jobs.
When you fail to uphold a standard, you are actually setting a new, lower one. We will not do this.
* Geordin Hill-Lewis, Mayor of the City of Cape Town.
** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.
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