Lennit Max
Cape Town - Newly appointed Police Minister Bheki Cele’s special adviser, Lennit Max, says the decision to join national government was borne out of his frustration for not being allowed to use his skills as a trained police officer with expertise to curb crime in the Western Cape.

He said he resigned as a member of the legislature at the weekend to take up his new post, which he started on July 1, but he remained a member of the DA. He said as a trained police officer he could no longer sit idle while crime was getting out of control.

Max said the DA leadership saw no need to deploy him as part of any provincial crime-busting unit after he requested to be part of such an initiative. He said he approached the DA leadership and offered his skills, but this was declined by the party’s leadership.

“This not only frustrated, but angered me,” said Max.

Max said he met Cele once and when he outlined his plans to fight crime, Cele asked him to come on board for a year. “The time for talking is over, action against crime is demanded. I believe our fight against crime crosses all divides, especially political divides,” said Max. His focus would be to rally gang-infested communities, and in rural areas to stop children and women abuse.

The country’s murder capital, Nyanga, and neighbouring Gugulethu, Delft and Mitchells Plain, would be getting the best policing services under his watch, Max said on Tuesday. He would also prioritise farm killings. “The police are the active partner in the fight against crime, but we need to generate a change and peace of attitudes in our communities.

“It is heartbreaking to see how many young people, young boys, are in those cells. Some did not even attend school, that is a crisis we are sitting with. They are there for drugs, break-ins, it’s a huge challenge and we need all hands on board.”

He said there were no conditions attached to his new appointment. “Membership of political parties is a voluntary thing and depends on an individual. As I speak to you I am a fully-fledged member of the DA,” said Max.

DA provincial leader Bonginkosi Madikizela said he wished Max well in his new role. Madikizela criticised the ANC-run national police department, which he said “has not taken the plight of Western Cape residents seriously, with under-resourcing”. Without mentioning what action would be taken, Madikizela said Max “cannot act as the special adviser to the ANC minister of police and be a DA member”.

“We hope his appointment means the SAPS will finally take the safety of the province’s residents seriously.”

Cape Times