A small Nissan NP200 bakkie is all that North West police’s tactical response team has to use to chase criminals in high-speed vehicles.
This while their colleagues in the Flying Squad are forced to share a Mazda 3 and a Ford Ranger double cab to patrol the long stretches of road leading to the provincial capital, Mahikeng.
This happens while the provincial commissioner’s driver allegedly cruises around in a high-speed VW Golf GTI when he is not chauffeuring the top cop in another luxury vehicle.
These claims are contained in a letter that North West deputy provincial commissioner Major-General Patrick Asaneng wrote to national commissioner Khehla Sitole in May last year.
The situation has remained unchanged in 18 months.
“The issues you are raising are internal matters and they have been or are being dealt with as such,” Sitole’s spokesperson Brigadier Vish Naidoo said last week.
City Press understands that the under-allocation of resources for policing work prompted Asaneng to write to Sitole on May 14, requesting his intervention.
WEAK POLICING AND MANAGEMENT
In the letter, requesting for an urgent intervention and investigation into maladministration, unethical conduct, mismanagement and possible criminal conduct by provincial commissioner of North West Lieutenant-General Baile Motswenyane, Asaneng hints at disunity among the top police brass in the provincial headquarters in Potchefstroom.
His letter claims that there are weaknesses within the police system, hampering its core function of fighting crime.
Asaneng blames police failures on things that were not done correctly under Motswenyane’s leadership.
He also accuses former Hawks head in the province Major-General Ntebo Mabula, who is now a provincial commissioner responsible for detectives, of allegedly being allowed to “create a monolithic, unproductive private army in the provincial detective unit.
“Since his transfer from the Hawks, Mabula, working together with Motswenyane, has systematically embarked on a blatant project not only to cripple the Hawks in the province but also to dispense patronage by promoting Mabula’s lieutenants to the detriment of other members and at the expense of service delivery.
“It is for this reason that the province has failed and is continuing to fail in combating stock theft, murder, theft of motor vehicles and drugs,” Asaneng wrote.
“All former members of the Hawks who were appointed by the provincial commissioner to investigate the alleged threat to then acting national commissioner Lieutenant General Khomotso Phahlane were promoted to specialised fields, even in areas where they had no expertise at all...
Asaneng further writes that: “The province does not have a plan or strategy to combat, let alone prevent, crime. Crime combating coordinating structures are dysfunctional and crime combating is done through haphazard, uninformed and costly interventions.
“Instead, parallel structures are set up while ignoring those already in existence, such as new detective tracking teams while there is already a provincial tracking team. In all these instances, members from Visible Policing are taken without my knowledge or that of cluster commanders. This is the power that Mabula wields.”
Asaneng adds that Motswenyane has “consistently sidelined and ignored me in all matters relating to crime combating. Instead, she would consult, work with and talk to other deputy provincial commissioners and, worse still, to my provincial heads while I am in the office.”
He believes that Motswenyane’s actions are “intended to isolate and render me redundant and uncooperative”.
SKEWED ALLOCATION OF RESOURCES
Asaneng requested Sitole to probe, among other things, “why a staff officer who is office-bound was allocated an unmarked, high-performance vehicle and allowed to draw overtime while the provincial tracking team, Flying Squad and tactical response team had serious shortages”.
During a recent visit to Potchefstroom, police sources told City Press that several units responsible for visible policing and crime combating, such as the Flying Squad and tactical response team, were underresourced.
“The tactical response team guys in Rustenburg are relying on a Nissan NP200, which is nothing against the task at hand, which often sees them facing off against serious criminals who are usually driving fast and powerful cars when they commit cash-in-transit heists and truck hijackings, among other crimes.
“The Flying Squad, which patrols long stretches of busy roads leading to Mahikeng, have a Mazda 3 and Ford Ranger double cab with high mileages and are still expected to be efficient,” one senior officer lamented.
“Three unmarked Ford Everest SUVs were procured and the explanation was that they would be used whenever there are VIPs visiting the province, but they are often used by senior officers who are also getting a car allowance.
“These are the kind of vehicles that could be put to better use in the real policing environment.”
In the letter to Sitole, Asaneng also complained that Motswenyane had, on her appointment in 2016, unilaterally decided to transfer the head of policing and replace him with another brigadier “whose entire career had been in the human resource environment”.
He said he could not find justification for Motswenyane’s actions, which were not beneficial to policing.
THE STATE HOUSE
Asaneng also claimed that Motswenyane had stayed in a guest house at the expense of the state, while a house allocated to her was “being refurbished, despite the fact that the house had been refurbished not long ago. The house has since been allocated to a staff officer.”
City Press spoke to police officers who confirmed that Motswenyane had opted to stay in her own accommodation instead of moving into a state-owned house which was specially renovated for her.
Asaneng’s letter and detailed questions were sent to Naidoo as well as Motswenyane’s spokesperson, Sabata Mokgwabone.
Only Naidoo responded, saying that the matter was an internal issue.
Asaneng also refused to comment.