Mbalula aims to go beyond call of duty in new role
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Johannesburg - Police Minister Fikile Mbalula showed his no-nonsense side, how he has adapted to his new role and shed light on what he plans to accomplish in the police service.
He showed his hand on Thursday following Higher Education Deputy Minister Mduduzi Manana's appearance in court over an alleged assault in a nightclub last week.
Mbalula is no stranger to the police ministry. He previously served as a deputy minister to then minister Nathi Mthethwa before he became minister of sport and recreation.
Recalling his stint in his previous post, the "minister of Twitter" said safety had not been his preoccupation.
“Nobody came to talk about issues of safety. I spoke to Floyd Mayweather about other important issues,” he said.
“It was nice, I must say. Equally this one is about serving. I will do it to the best of my ability,” Mbalula said.
He spoke of how cases were brought to his attention via Twitter and calls from citizens for him to spring into action.
“When a case is brought to my attention, I don’t turn a blind eye, I follow up on it. I see that it is attended to. If it is not, I ask why not?”
He claimed to have helped more than 5000 young women on the run from partners, who contacted him via Twitter.
According to Mbalula, it was not supposed to be like that.
“It means there is something wrong in the administration of justice at police stations. You can’t have a person report abuse more than five times and, as police, you don’t take their concerns seriously.”
He told of a case he was alerted to where police in Alexandra had not made an arrest after a woman had been killed, even though it was known where the suspect had been hiding.
In another, Mbalula had a call from a man whose sister had been raped. He complained that the case had not been attended to by the police in the Eastern Cape.
“Not all police stations will do what I call policing. They neglect their duties,” he said.
Mbalula said the cases reported to him were “genuine cases”. “It means, in my system, there are cases that are reported and neglected by police for one reason or other. We need to address that as we undertake a campaign against gender-based violence,” he said.
He insisted police “must do their job”.
Mbalula revealed he was working on mechanisms that would “refresh” the 10111 call centre in the fight against crime to make it easy for citizens to report crime without fear or favour.
“I realised there is no prank calls on Twitter when people report these things,” he said.
Mbalula has no qualms about giving orders to the police and being lectured at times.
“I instruct police every day. It is my job. For various reasons, some listen and others not, but I have never given them illegal instructions,” he said.
It has not been plain sailing for the former ANC Youth League president. “I get lectured that this can’t be done. I say, 'Nonsense, this person must be arrested. This must be done'.”
Mbalula has a word of advice to colleagues and all who might find themselves on wrong side of the law: “We can be friends. It might be painful, but the law must take its course. There must be no favouritism.”