Another police commissioner leaves under a cloud – DA on Phiyega

2017-06-12 21:29
Riah Phiyega (AP)

Riah Phiyega (AP)

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A look back at Phiyega's time in office

2017-06-12 12:02

Monday marks suspended police commissioner Riah Phiyega's last day in office. Watch.WATCH

Johannesburg – President Jacob Zuma needs to appoint a police commissioner with suitable qualifications and integrity to replace Riah Phiyega, the DA said on Monday.

“Presidents under successive ANC governments have continuously failed to appoint fit-for-purpose individuals with the merit and integrity required for the position, instead appointing cronies because they were motivated by political considerations,” DA MP Zakhele Mbhele said in a statement.

The terms of Phiyega and her predecessors Bheki Cele and Jackie Selebi were all cut short by scandal or controversy, he said. Mbhele was commenting on Phiyega’s five-year term, which began in June 2012 and ended on Saturday.

Cele was fired in 2012 after the Moloi board of inquiry found him guilty of gross misconduct in his dealing with a lease for police office space.

Cele replaced Selebi, who was found guilty of corruption and sentenced to 15 years' jail in August 2010. Selebi died on January 23, 2015 at the age of 64, while out on medical parole.

During her term, violent and organised crime increased, and she showed during the Farlam commission of inquiry that evading accountability and incompetence were the hallmarks of her leadership, Mbhele said.

The Farlam commission investigated the police’s killing of 34 miners during a strike at Lonmin’s platinum mine in Marikana on August 16, 2012, and the deaths of 10 people, including two police officers and two Lonmin security guards, in the preceding week.

The commission found that a lack of police preparation contributed to the bloodshed. A subsequent inquiry into Phiyega’s fitness to hold office, chaired by Judge Neels Claassen, found she was not fit to hold office and should be dismissed. She filed papers in the High Court in Pretoria in January, to ask it to review and set aside these findings.

Mbhele said skewed priorities stemming from incompetence resulted in mismanagement, which led to under-staffed and under-resourced police stations. In addition, poor leadership broke down command-and-control and eroded morale.

“Ordinary officers see those at the top getting away with unethical conduct with little or no accountability, and they realise that they may not get fair reward for good performance because loyalties and connections are often seen to trump merit.”

National police commissioners should have experience in policing, from having risen up the ranks, an unblemished record, and enjoy the trust and confidence of rank-and-file officers.

“Ideally, the selection and recruitment process should be public and transparent, done by an independent, multi-disciplinary panel of experts, as proposed in the National Development Plan.”

Incompetence at the top resulted in personnel, financial, asset, and supply chain mismanagement. This led to a dysfunctional crime intelligence and detective services.

Mbhele said if these two branches of the police were not fixed and adequately staffed, there would be no hope of dealing effectively with syndicate crimes like carjackings, robberies, and firearm trafficking.

Read more on:    police  |  da  |  riah phiyega

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