Riah Phiyega, National Police Commissioner sits at the head of a long table, waiting for the ruckus and the finger-pointing to die down. Eventually she takes off her shoe and bangs it on the table. Everyone turns to look at her, a veritable field of blue surmounted by faces in various shades of the rainbow nation, with expressions ranging from puzzlement to anger. ‘Comrades, this is not the way for us to behave as the duly appointed heads of police. I called this meeting because I need to know what’s going on in my jurisdiction.’
‘Juris what what?’ asks one of the senior policemen. ‘What is this thing what you are talking about? You know we don’t talk foreign language here!’
‘Jurisdiction,’ she says. ‘How can you, a senior policeman not know what it means?’ He mutters and looks askance at her, shaking his head and giving her the stare. ‘Jurisdiction comes from Jewish people, who were the whites who started Apartheid then took all their money and ran away. Diction means book, like all the fancy books all the Jews have, to make us all look stupid. Because they were in charge of all the world’s finances, the Jewish book was in charge of the whole world, so jurisdiction is what is in my charge. Okay?’ Understanding slowly dawns on their faces. Of course! Now it makes sense. This was why Jacob Zuma hired this woman; because she’s so clever.
‘So, it’s time for you to report. I have had disturbing news. Profits are down dramatically: what’s happening?’
Brigadier Themba Mahlangu gets to his feet. ‘The problem is the Metro Cops. We have to absorb them into SAPS, then we will see our profits go up. Have you seen how much they make? Even without bribes? Yoh, yoh, yoh!’
‘I told you to offer protection to businesses, why don’t you do that?’
‘Hau! These people have got security guards! They chase us away, and the Zimbabweans and Mozambicans who come here don’t have any money, so we can’t even get bribes!’
Colonel Zippy Naidoo adds his voice. ‘When people come to report crimes and we try to get money out of them to investigate, they want to report us, so we have to beat them up and put them in our cells until they calm down. Sometimes they die before they calm down.’
Riyah Phiyega shakes her head. ‘No wonder our beloved President put me in charge here. You people have no idea how to run a business! At Marikana, why didn’t you plant automatic weapons on these people, instead on pangas? Why didn’t you wait until the press went away before you shot Andries Tatane? Why didn’t you confiscate all the cellphones from the people before you dragged Macia to the police station for questioning?’
Brigadier Justus Mlungu gets up and shakes his finger at her. ‘You weren’t there!’ he shouts, spittle flying. ‘My police were there and he parked on the wrong side of the street! Do you know how dangerous that is?’
‘Why didn’t you put him in the van, then?’ she asks, sweetly.
‘He didn’t want to get in, that’s why.’
She shakes her head sadly. ‘But that is not the point: the point is, why didn’t you confiscate all the cellphones first?’ He mutters under his breath and sits down. She turns to Major Andries Dippenaar. ‘What are the figures looking like for the rental of the uniforms and the blues lights?’
He turns a broad smile on her: he at least has good news. ‘We’ve rented out over six hundred uniforms and eighty blue lights, but the best of all is, that 25% of the income generated by those robberies has to come back to us, or they get no more uniforms.’
‘In fact,’ he continues, ‘when you say crime is under control, you are telling the truth. It is under our control, and that way we know what’s going on and can make sure that SAPS remains a profitable organisation.’
She turns to the others. ‘Look at this: the only one who isn’t complaining, but is doing something positive, comes from the old SAP, the Apartheid police. You can learn from him.’ She turns to him again. ‘How many people have been killed in police custody by your division, or how many have your policeman killed?’
He looks at her in astonishment. ‘None! We leave that to the criminals who hire our equipment!’
She turns back to the rest of the senior cops, muttering darkly under their. ‘There, that’s how you run a successful operation!’
Brigadier General Sampie Ndlovu gets to his feet and shouts. ‘Typical! The whites are still trying to steal our jobs!’
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