The attackers in the viral #BlueLightMafia case is back in the Randburg Regional court today. According to Action Society, the public will follow the disciplinary action against the attackers and the way the court handles this case closely and that will direct their level of trust in police officers when they are pulled over in traffic. A poll that Action Society ran since the #BlueLightMafia incident revealed that only 207 (4.7%) out of the 4 417 respondents that participated felt that they could trust members of the South African Police Service (SAPS) when they got pulled over.
According to Ian Cameron, Director of Community Safety at Action Society, neither SAPS nor the court have done much to instill public trust that police officers should be kept at a higher standard and isn’t above the law. “The police took weeks to arrest the highway attackers and then sent them on a paid holiday while the court awarded them special treatment by allowing them to appear masked in court. Moreover, despite the serious charges brought against them, they were let out on bail.”
Action Society will continue to mobilise civil society to demand that the #BlueLightMafia eight are unmasked in court, prosecuted to the full extent of the law, dismissed from the South African Police Service (SAPS) and that their access to personal weapons must be taken away as they are clearly not fit and proper to carry a firearm.
- Out of 4 417 respondents 2 654 (60.1%) were male and 1 763 (39.9%) were female.
- Out of all the respondents, only 207 (4.7%) felt that they could trust SAPS officers when they got pulled over.
- 1 767 Respondents (40%) felt unsure and didn’t know if the SAPS officers could be trusted and 2 443 respondents (55.3%) felt unsafe.
- Only 760 respondents (17.2%) reported that SAPS officials introduced themselves when they got pulled over, while 3 657 respondents (82.8%) reported that the SAPS officials did not introduce themselves.
- Out of all the respondents 2 349 (53.2%) had been asked for a bribe compared to 2 068 (46.8%) that hadn’t been asked for a bribe.
- Male respondents were targeted for bribes more commonly than female respondents. 1 488 out of 2 654 males (56.1%) were asked for a bribe compared to 861 out of 1 763 (48.8%) of females.
It is time to purge the police service and protect the good cops
According to Cameron the #BlueLightMafia case has ironically unmasked the deeply entrenched culture of investigative neglect, mismanagement, corruption, obstruction, cover-ups and abuse of power in the South African Police Service (SAPS).
The only solution is a drastic purge in the SAPS and it should start from the top. “A corrupt organisational culture doesn’t happen by accident, it is shaped by the worst behaviour the leadership is willing to tolerate. This goes for the whole SAPS and when you look at the track record of the current top structures of the SAPS, specifically Bheki Cele, one cannot be surprised why the SAPS is in the state it is.”
“The sad reality is that the good cops in the SAPS are the biggest losers. They are let down by police management, under-resourced and outnumbered and because of the shameful conduct of officers who choose to participate in Mafia behaviour, like in the case of the #BlueLightMafia eight, they are unfortunately also on the receiving end of public mistrust.”