Demilitarise police, says Manuel

2011-11-16 14:01

Cape Town - The SA Police Service (SAPS) should be demilitarised, Trevor Manuel, minister in the presidency, told MPs on Wednesday.

Briefing members of Parliament's public service portfolio committee on the recently-released National Development Plan (NDP), he said this was "not a popular call", but needed to be done.

"In respect of police services... we want to demilitarise the police [and] go back to the norms in the Constitution.

"It's not a popular call, but we have to evaluate the concept of service in [the] SAPS," Manuel said.

The NDP, which charts a draft development path for South Africa to follow up to 2030, was presented to President Jacob Zuma last Friday.

Among other things, the planners examined the police service, and found that, from 2000 onwards, it "gradually started reverting to a semblance of a paramilitary force".

The process was formalised last year with a controversial decision to re-introduce military ranks, a move described at the time as "craziness" by former minister Kader Asmal.

Professional police service

The NDP noted that the return to using military ranks "took place against a backdrop of increasing violent crime, high levels of community frustration and fear, and a police perception that they would command greater respect from communities if they had military ranks".

The document found this was inconsistent with "professionalising" the police force.

"The police will earn the respect of communities if they are efficient and effective. Military ranks might create fear, but they do not instil respect.

"Critically, they do not lead to a greater rate of arrests and convictions. Instead, militarisation can contribute to increased violence by police and undue heavy-handed conduct, deterring effective investigations," it found.

Manuel told the committee - the first group of parliamentarians to be briefed on the NDP - that the police code of conduct needed to be used to promote discipline in the force.

He also called for the adoption of a two-stream recruitment system, to be developed over the next five years.

According to the NDP, such a system would see the separate recruitment of officers and non-commissioned officers to promote the development of a professional police service.

The NDP, crafted by a team of 26 commissioners over the past 18 months, is set to undergo a four-month period of public scrutiny and debate before a final version is sent to Cabinet for approval.

  • David - 2011-11-16 14:11

    Did Trevor tell (suspended) Brigadier Cele about this?

      John - 2011-11-16 15:10

      The only reason that they went to military ranks was to satisfy the ego of Cele, so he could be called General. Given half a chance he would have elevated his rank to Field Marshall

      emile.eley - 2011-11-16 21:22

      Actually John, I have it on good authority that Cele is well regarded in the service. Despite his obvious shortcomings, his no nonsense approach to crime is and was well supported.

  • DrMaximus - 2011-11-16 14:18

    Veeerrryyyy Interesting Stuff. Can they also demiliterize the ANCYL

      Anthony - 2011-11-16 16:13

      now you onto it, yes

  • Elle-Black - 2011-11-16 14:36

    Forget respect the police should be feared

      Fred - 2011-11-16 15:43

      No, no, no! The police should behave in a manner which commands the respect and cooperation of all law abiding citizens. They should be efficient enough to make all criminals fear being brought to justice. What you are suggesting was called the Gestapo.

      Jean - 2011-11-16 18:41

      the police should be feared not respected i have been there and i know

      Janneman27 - 2011-11-16 20:26 are wrong...police shouldn't be feared, disobeying the law should be feared...

  • VOVO247 - 2011-11-16 14:40

    HANDS OFF THE POLICE, YOU LIBERALS have done NOTHING good for our society since your inception, you disgusting dogs!!! The police are there to deal with savage criminals festering in our society, and should be militarized & boosted in every way possible. If there is 1 thing that has been right since 2009 is the improved effort in fighting crime. we cannot have soft police officers & laws in a country plagued by savage, demonic violent criminals!!! Shoot to kill!!! Destroy these demons, eradicate crime!!! The police have gained a lot of respect in the last few years, and we all know that we cannot fix the mess caused by 8 years of blinddness by teh previous administration!!!

      Jacques - 2011-11-16 14:58

      hmmm and in the process of "Shoot to kill!!! Destroy these demons, eradicate crime!!!"they shoot your child what then?

      Mouldy - 2011-11-16 14:59

      There, there, I think you should go lie down for a bit.

      Trevor - 2011-11-16 15:05

      Ativan...go ask your doctor about it

      Fred - 2011-11-16 15:43

      This is what is termed a poe!

      Anthony - 2011-11-16 16:18

      you dont read the news do you?

      Jean - 2011-11-16 18:43

      ja well its better to have your child shot then to have him/her raped hey and police needs more power look at Brazil in my opinion one off the most effective police forces in the world

      mark.davy2 - 2011-11-16 19:57

      If anything you are the liberal...! Where in the western world do you see Militarised police forces???

  • DJEloff - 2011-11-16 14:43

    Personally I don't see why it should happen? Crime rates since re-introducing military ranks in the police force has dropped and I even feel safer walking on the streets, even at night time. A 6.5% drop in the murder rate,street robbery and mugging is down by almost 10.2%,and carjacking by 23.6%. Why changed when progress is finally being made?

  • raath - 2011-11-16 14:50

    Military structure is important as it ensures discipline and the proper conduct. It is an institution world-wide. "militarisation can contribute to increased violence.." who is the dimwit who made this finding? Militarisation doesn't lead to increased violence. Morons with weapons, on a power trip, lead to increased violence.

      Paas - 2011-11-16 15:05

      Unfortunately Raath, if you want a military structure, you must ensure that the discipline, etc., is also maintained like a good army. Have you seen these boys in blue swaggering around; half dressed; pushing their way to the front of the KFC drive-thru queue; slouching around at the police station or using the much needed vehicle as their personal conveyance - more like a rebel group operating in the DRC than any disciplined force appointed to protect and servce the community. PS - the SANDF isnt much better, clearly wearing your uniform proudly is no longer a requiste to serve South Africa.

  • Terence - 2011-11-16 14:50

    This makes a lot of sence, hence it will never happen with the ANC in power.

  • Shaun - 2011-11-16 15:02

    Yes lets do that, lets us be policed by softies, take away their guns and give them water pistols and plastic handcuffs and let them talk nicely to criminals and not be condescending at all. What a bunch of liberal crap!!!

      Mike - 2011-11-16 16:25

      This liberal crap gave you a constitution that protects your lily white ass!

      Shaun - 2011-11-16 16:37

      @Mike oh I see I offended your leftist white ass, well guess what.........I dont care.

  • nikelom - 2011-11-16 15:24

    Militarise, demiliterise, change dept names, change institution names all = waste our money. Decide already you lot!

  • Murechen - 2011-11-16 15:32

    At least Bheki Cele's dream of being a GENERAL came true, for a while

  • Gavin - 2011-11-16 15:33

    What used to be a police force is now a police service. The guys who used to catch criminals are now criminals. Soon the government will solve this problem by legalising crime. I saw a t shirt the other day it read: don't steal, the government doesn't like competition.

  • Grant - 2011-11-16 15:57

    Viva Comrade Manuel, Viva!! Shoot them down, you strong Spear of the Nation. Go Comrade Go !!

  • Tim - 2011-11-16 15:58

    I am so pleased that this is happening.. we need a police service that serves the community they work in, not a rag-tag paramilitary force. The current police force has very little idea of who they actually work for

  • Ally - 2011-11-16 17:00

    Ha, ha ha, who is going to listen to Trev? The power-hungry idiots in the party won't want ot give up the "prestige" they think is bestowed on them by fancy titles and pips on shoulders. Trev can go whistle in the wind.

  • Chris - 2011-11-16 20:02

    When will they wake up? Ranks have nothing to do with it! There is no discipline and most of the commanders have no experience or knowledge.

  • emile.eley - 2011-11-16 21:20

    Good heavens, these fools don't have a clue. This is what happens when laypersons run the police. The organisation was changed to align more to the British model, but that hasn't worked, so it was changed back. The specialist units, e.g. gang unit, SANAB, were disbanded, now they are planning to reintroduce them having lost all the expertise in the meantime. Now not so clever Trevor proposes to change it all again. Absolute lunacy. The government is more concerned about form rather than substance. Frankly, dear sir, the public doesn't give a rat's ass what the police are called or whether they wear ballet tutus and high heels. Just please police!

  • jensbirger.giebelmann - 2011-11-17 07:02

    I do not believe that any rank system makes any difference, never mind what you call the officer when you need help. The SAPS has it's problems, but the bigger problem are the courts. We can arrest as many people as we like and re-arrest and re-arrest them when the courts are corrupt and release the criminals. Start with the courts and then worry about re-ranking the cops, again.

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