Process of appointing top cop Khehla Sitole slammed

2017-11-22 23:16
President Jacob Zuma and newly appointed National Police Commissioner General Khehla John Sitole. (GCIS)

President Jacob Zuma and newly appointed National Police Commissioner General Khehla John Sitole. (GCIS)

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Cape Town – While the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) welcomed the appointment of the new police commissioner, it insisted that the selection processes for the top cop position remains flawed.

The ISS said in a statement on Wednesday that the country was still at the mercy of President Jacob Zuma when it came to the vital appointment.

Zuma appointed the experienced Lieutenant-General Khehla Sitole as the national police commissioner.

READ: Zuma appoints new national police commissioner

"While we welcome an experienced police officer to lead the SAPS, the fact that we do not have the benefit of a rigorous appointment process leaves South Africans at the mercy of President Zuma’s judgement, for which the track record is not great," said Gareth Newham, head of justice and violence prevention at the ISS.

Newham said that Sitole had a difficult task ahead of him to professionalise the police and tackle serious violent crime that has been plaguing South Africa.

He said Sitole had the kind of track record that should be required of national police commissioner candidates.

Newham said South Africans would once again find out through experience whether their new police chief has the qualities required to lead and protect – “a process which has cost the country dearly for the last decade”.

He said Sitole’s first test would be how he tackles individuals within the police service, who bring the institution into disrepute.

"Urgent priorities will be to start cleaning out the upper echelons of the SAPS of people who have been irregularly appointed or who need to respond to evidence of serious misconduct and criminality."

Newham said a key indicator of whether this was happening or not was whether Sitole ensured an independent disciplinary inquiry was completed against disgraced Lieutenant-General Richard Mdluli "as a matter of serious urgency".

Costing the taxpayer millions

"Mdluli has cost the taxpayer millions of rands, while receiving full pay and benefits while being on suspension due to the various criminal trials against him."

He said Sitole would also have to ensure he is able to provide the more than 194 000 men and women employed in the SAPS, with the necessary training, resources and strategic guidance.

"He will have to act with speed to implement the audit of senior police commanders as required by the National Development Plan. This is the only way he will be surrounded by highly experienced commanders of integrity that can support him in efforts to improve policing."

Newham said Sitole would also have to withstand the massive political pressure that will be brought to bear on him to interfere in investigations against powerful political and business interests.

"The ISS wishes General Sithole well and will do what we can to support him in his difficult tasks of improving policing, reducing serious violent crime and corruption, and withstanding the intense political interference he is bound to experience."

Read more on:    iss  |  jacob zuma  |  khehla sitole

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