National police commissioner Khehla Sitole appeared clueless during his testimony at the SA Human Rights Commission hearing into the July unrest on Tuesday, when he could not recall the number of people who died in Phoenix.
He also conceded that he did not have a National Diploma in Policing – a qualification that most of his subordinates possess.
Ian Cameron, Spokesperson for Action Society comments: “South Africa has not had one qualified National police commissioner in the past 20 years. Our country can no longer afford political appointments. We need the best of the best to protect families, specifically the women and children of South Africa. Citizens need accountability and transparent leadership.”
Jackie Selebi was a political appointment who caused major damage in the South African Police Services (SAPS). He started with the implementation of true ANC cadre deployment. He also neutralised efforts of really clamping down on professional syndicates when he disbanded specialist units.
Bheki Cele was fired for corruption as national commissioner with no police background. Another ANC appointment.
Riah Phiyega was also an ANC appointment with zero police experience. She awarded herself a 10 year service medal after less than three years. She even awarded herself a medal for serving during the FIFA World Cup 2010. Phiyega was severely incompetent and during her time as Commissioner it was exposed that 1 in 10 cops have criminal records.
Khomotso Phahlane was a career cop who seemed able and many results seemed evident ̶ until he was also sacked for corruption.
Sithole is a combination of all of the above. He has police experience but no tertiary education and seems to be a lapdog for Bheki Cele. He is the first National commissioner to admit that it is impossible for the SAPS to fulfil their constitutional mandate.
“The fight against gender-based violence (GBV) can’t be won if we continue with political appointments. GBV is the biggest pandemic our country has ever faced and increasing rapidly. The lack of adequate and competent policing, a under-resourced police service and poor leadership within the SAPS are all root causes for the GBV crisis we’re facing. The SAPS is meant to set a certain standard ̶ and that standard is currently at an all-time low,” Cameron continued.
Earlier in his testimony, Sitole testified about the fact that no intelligence was received because Crime Intelligence was under-resourced.
Advocate Sethene, evidence leader in the inquest, did not accept this answer and asked the commissioner, why, since his appointment in November 2017, he had not done more to resource Crime Intelligence.
Sethene then highlighted that the police commissioner was the accounting officer of the police’s R100-billion budget and that he should have done more to capacitate Crime Intelligence.
Sitole conceded that he was the accounting officer of the police.
“A person charged with responsibility to manage those billions has to have requisite qualifications,” said Sethene, to which Sitole responded: “I agree.”
“We can’t expect a law abiding society, when those who are supposed to enforce the law are not on par. Action Society recommends an independent panel to identify and appoint the National police commissioner. Political interference has caused massive deterioration in the police ̶ with a ruling party that is basically corrupt to its core. The SAPS cannot be expected to be effective and lead with integrity when their own leadership is not above board.”