Top cop

2009-01-12 00:00

PUBLIC perception of the police is generally negative. The task of building a post-apartheid service appropriate to a democratic society was one of South Africa’s greatest challenges; but the suspension of national commissioner Jackie Selebi a year ago created a further obstacle.

Minister of Safety and Security, Nathi Mthethwa, is justifiably calling for Selebi’s replacement. Charges of corruption and defeating the ends of justice should surely have led to his immediate dismissal. The position requires someone of impeccable behaviour and any basis for trust must have been irretrievably lost.

Crime is a major problem and those responsible for public safety are suffering from low morale and are effectively leaderless. The flaws of Selebi’s political appointment are glaringly obvious. Now is the time to put in place a person who has made a career in the police and who can command the respect and confidence of colleagues and the public.

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