Mthethwa hands Cele a blank cheque

2010-11-07 12:04

Police minister Nathi Mthethwa has amended South African Police Service (SAPS) employment ­regulations to give top cop ­General Bheki Cele sweeping powers to ­appoint senior officials.

In the amendment gazetted on October 20, Cele must now advertise senior management vacancies nationally inside the SAPS.

The previous regulation required that Cele advertise simultaneously and nationally inside and outside the SAPS. The new regulations stipulate that he “may also advertise such posts simultaneously both inside and outside the SAPS”. This means that he is not obliged to do so.

The regulations came into effect in 2008 after disgraced former ­police boss Jackie Selebi was also accused of making excessive and extreme promotions of individuals who lacked experience or training necessary to hold the positions.

Cele recently came under fire ­after eight out of the 10 appointments made since he took office were reported to be people from KwaZulu-Natal.

As a result, he was accused of “provincial nepotism”.

Democratic Alliance shadow police minister Dianne Kohler- Barnard accused Mthethwa of ­deliberately changing the regulations to ensure that Cele was no longer obliged to throw his net wide in search of expertise.

“Now he has an ‘official’ excuse to bump ANC cadres up the ranks so they become ‘qualified’ for the relevant positions, more or less overnight,” she said.

At least three senior policemen have left the SAPS since Cele’s ­appointment.

Former deputy national police commissioner Lieutenant-General Hamilton Hlela, supply chain management unit divisional commissioner Lieutenant-General Matthews Siwundla and Major- General Stephanus Terblanche all left after the Special Investigating Unit started probing police procurement deals.

City Press revealed in February that Cele had ordered a probe of almost 40 tenders hastily finalised before he took office in August last year. Cele believed correct procedures might not have been followed in awarding the tenders.

Kohler-Barnard said the previous regulations ensured that large sections of the job market were ­explored when head-hunting the most qualified staff.

“Mthethwa is displaying such undemocratic behaviour in one of the most crucial ministries, which should at all times search out the best-qualified people to tackle this country’s horrendous crime situation,” she said.

She said “insiders” had told her that even internal advertisements were being pulled off the system almost immediately after posting.

“This shows that Cele is simply paying lip service to the suggestion that the process of applications is open to all within the SAPS,” she said.

This was “unethical and demoralising” to those wanting to apply for the positions.

Mthethwa’s spokesperson, Zweli Mnisi, said that by amending the regulations the minister wanted to place stringent conditions on employment procedures followed when attracting the most talented South Africans.

“It’s our endearing hope that we’ll also be able to improve our human resource capacity to make a difference,” Mnisi said.

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