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The police whore's heart

27 March 2013, 09:00

Currently, in the police, blame is being passed around like wives at a swingers' convention. First (and still continuing), Riah Phiyega's water treading at the Farlam commission. It couldn't be clearer that we have the police force we do, because of leadership like her and her superiors - politically motivated, untrained and vacuous, with very little that passes for acceptable integrity and general respect for humanity.  To understand why she got the job, one only has to look further up in the chain of command. To the likes of Nathi Mthethwa.

During his appearance in parliament, called to explain the reasons for increasing levels of police brutality, this man chose to blame, amongst others, station commanders, and then added that it was a real problem to find suitable candidates for the police force in South Africa. His proposed plans included making a list of applicants publicly available, in order for communities to pronounce on the suitability of candidates for the police service. What typical hogwash. If anything, this puts on display the dwarfish understanding at best, and duplicitous leadership trends at worst, of the current ANC.

Training processes in defense force units and police services around the world, are designed to produce the results Mthethwa now wants to task communities with. Well-designed training courses deliver specialized soldiers and policemen. Period. These courses are put together precisely to separate the corn from the chaff and ensure that only the best of the best pass the training and embark on service careers. Quite simple really, if you think about it. To use an American example, only 5 percent on average pass the FBI phase 1 testing. Specialists are selected from that 5 percent and receive further training in a variety of fields. The results, although not flawless, are great. It's a law enforcement organization that garners global respect.

There are two reasons these processes couldn't exist in South Africa. Firstly, the attitude of "inclusion", which, sadly, seems to apply to the police service as it does everywhere else. This concept uses the lowest common denominator (a little like a 30% pass mark in matric) to decide a candidate's suitability, simply so that nobody has to suffer the indignity of being 'excluded'. After eighteen years, it's now biting the donkey's ass. Mediocrity rules supreme. Secondly, best practice can never survive in a patronage-driven political environment. Fair play is the foundation of quality. Political patronage is the enemy. 

As the fertilizer in which corruption and maladministration in S.A. grows, Jacob Zuma and his network can never allow high quality, independent law enforcement to thrive. It is easier and infinitely safer to occasionally, when the pressure gets too high, make uneducated excuses and offer dumb and half-arsed solutions designed to sustain the status quo. Badly trained people without a semblance of leadership will always take the blame. But they can never really be the proverbial heart of the whore. That distinction belongs solely to the ANC. Those that take the blame are simply people recruited for a job they are uniquely unable to do, and haphazardly trained and left to operate in the total absence of any form of credible leadership. 

Having Mthethwa and Phiyega at the helm of the police, is akin to appointing Adriaan Niewoudt as minister of finance. It enhances the great pyramid scheme, which is the new ANC's South African dream.

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