De Haas assesses top cop candidates

2009-10-07 00:00

KWAZULU-NATAL violence monitor Mary de Haas says the province’s next police chief should be a no-nonsense, hands-on person who will be able to separate policing from politics.

On the shortlist for the KZN SAPS top job are deputy provincial commissioner of operations, Fannie Masemola, uMlazi cluster commander Commissioner Dumezweni Chiliza, Ulundi cluster commander Commissioner Mamunye Ngobeni and Jasmin Bacus, head of the KZN of Community Safety and Liaison Department.

“The new commissioner must be very clear about his or her responsibility relating to politicians, and not give in to political pressure,” said de Haas.

“It is crucial that policing be de-politicised, and this will be an ongoing task for the new commissioner.

“The new commissioner should be a no-nonsense person with extensive policing and managerial experience, and be of proven competence and integrity. He or she will have to work very hard to put the police in some sort of order in terms of ensuring discipline, taking action against corrupt members implicated in loss of weapons and escape of suspects from cells — as well as looking after police resources.”

She said the job requires someone who is familiar with different facets of policing and who will be able to exert authority.

Asked if she believes the four candidates are suitable, De Haas said, “I don’t think Masemola has the necessary experience in general policing and administration. He is an operational man, involved, as far as I know, with matters relating to public order policing, for example.”

Chiliza has failed in dealing with violence in uMlazi area. “Look at the murder statistics, and crime is rife in the uMlazi area. I am told women cannot even walk home with their shopping without being robbed. Even the MEC has recently referred to allegations that police members are linked to taxi violence.”

Nor does she believe Bacus is a suitable candidate because, given her position as HoD, she must share responsibility for the deterioration in policing in the province over the past years.

“According to her profile on the department’s website, one of her more gutsy ventures is the setting up of a commission of inquiry into ineffectual and ineffective policing. The secretarial services for that commission were supplied by the secretariat, and documents handed to it went missing. The real disgrace is that millions of taxpayers’ money was spent on a report that was never written and submitted.

“There was also another disgraceful matter involving Bacus, linked to the irregular dissolution of a competent community police forum in Pinetown and the setting up of another forum in a completely irregular manner, and installing people without proper procedures being observed”. She said that when she asked Bacus about the irregularities she did not respond.

As for Ngobeni, De Haas she said she does not know much about her.

“I am told that she has served in other provinces, which is a good thing, and has a wide range of policing and administrative experience …”

De Haas has been documenting political violence in the province since the mid-1980s.

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