Pretoria - The constitution required the minister of police to direct police directives, draft policing policy, oversee, monitor and supervise all members and the organisation and its leadership and performance, Police Minister Fikile Mbalula said on Tuesday.
He was addressing the media on the executive authority interventions at the SAPS in addressing policing challenges, and how he was focused on instilling an intelligence-led policing approach to crime prevention. He also outlined key roles and responsibilities expected of him.
Mbalula made it clear that he was hands-on, but also a professional minister who had not taken over the functions of a police commissioner as it was made to seem by the media recently.
Mbalula said the constitution demanded that the ministry of police prevented, combated, and investigated crimes, maintained public order, protected and secured the inhabitants of the country and their property, and upheld and enforced the law. He said: “As for allegations that the minister should not be receiving intelligence information, I find this beyond silly and lazy journalism, potentially characterised by a passion against the person of Fikile Mbalula.”
He said as minister he needed to know if there were serious threats or domestic terrorism facing the state and the public. “I must know of a potential Marikana before it happens.
“The portfolio committee on police has expressed concern over the instability and crises in top SAPS management. The committee has also made various important inputs and directives in terms of members doing business with the organisation; the misallocation of resources; lack of security vetting of certain senior management service members; the auditor general’s findings; and others. Some of these were also expressed by the joint standing committee.
“With all this being said, I as minister of police am not a mere observer but executive authority beyond the development of policy, I am also empowered by the constitution to direct the successful implementation of policy,” he said. Mbalula explained that the SAPS Act empowered him as minister to exercise policing powers.
He said a lot of recent media reports contained what could be characterised as distorted information.
He said some of that could perhaps be due to police unavailability to explain themselves and also because the work of the police was intricate.
“As it can be seen, I am not a mere observer or ceremonial character. Powers of promotions, transfers of members within the service including all other matters around conditions of service are for minister to regulate and direct. It may surprise some that no SAPS member may leave the country without my approval. It is a standard item for me to deal with hundreds of submissions monthly as per our law,” he explained.
He said there was no bad blood between himself and acting national commissioner Lesetja Mothiba as it was made to seem in the media. Mbalula explained that the two were not friends but had a good professional working relationship with an understanding of each other.
Mbalula said reports that head of crime intelligence, Major-General King Bhoyi Ngcobo, was now reporting to him while Mothiba was brushed aside were not true.
Mbalula added that he was concerned that there was a dark force of individuals within the police who were part of a rogue collective that ran a negative campaign, leaked information to the media and spreading misinformation.
He said those people would be dealt with accordingly. Plans were in motion to ensure all members of the police vetted members of the police who were also doing business with the SAPS and that they were exposed. Mbalula said over and above all of that, the people of South Africa felt unsafe as criminals flaunted wealth and money in public places like taverns.
He said that was of greater concern than dealing with mischievous rumours perpetuated by those who forgot they were in the police to protect the public and provide a service.