Phiyega is to blame for police force exodus, says Cele

2015-04-26 15:00

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The SA Police Service (SAPS) is bleeding under national commissioner Riah Phiyega, says her predecessor, Bheki Cele.

“Reversals that are in the police are her [fault],” he told News24.

“It’s reversals and lies.”

Cele said that under Phiyega more officers were leaving the police service. He was told that 300 had resigned last month.

“They leave from the top to the bottom. They leave that organisation. That organisation bleeds.”

Cele said he was agitated on Sunday morning when he saw a letter Phiyega had written to City Press’ Mondli Makhanya regarding the SAPS.

“She says the nation must remember the gigantic problems she found in the police service. That’s nonsense ... She found a highly efficient organisation.”

In response to Cele’s comments, Phiyega said it was now her turn to manage the SAPS, and she had a specific mandate to transform, professionalise and build a sustainable platform for the police.

“He must accept that the SAPS is in the hands of new leadership. He must accept that he no longer holds the baton,” she said.

Phiyega referred to Cele’s parting shot when he was removed as police commissioner. He had wished the new person the best of luck and reminded people, “she did not steal my job. She answered the same call I did three years ago.”

She said: “Maybe he should stick to this because I think this was, and still is, an excellent parting shot for a person who reckons with his journey, a person who marches on to his new assignment and destiny.”

Cele detailed the progress he claims to have made in improving the police when he was in charge. Under him, people understood that if they committed a crime they would be arrested, he said.

He criticised the police’s handling of high-profile cases such as soccer star Senzo Meyiwa’s murder on October 26 last year.

“You come with a high-profile case like Senzo’s and you botch it.

“And you think South Africans can trust you? This organisation cannot mess up with high-profile cases.”

He said since 1994 the murder rate had never increased, except for last year.

Cele said when he was in charge, there had been no cash heists, mall attacks or bank robberies, and the number of hijackings and house robberies had decreased.

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