New SAPS National Commissioner appointment – no transparency means we might go from bad to worse

The process to find the country’s next top cop is underway, and interviews began behind closed doors on Monday.

News24’s Jeff Wicks reports that among the several top generals vying for command is Khehla Sitole’s deputy, Francinah Vuma.

On 17 March president Ramaphosa told MPs in the National Assembly that the panel would embark on a process to appoint the next National Police Commissioner after Khehla Sitole leaves at the end of March.

News 24 revealed that in searching for a replacement for Sitole, select generals were identified by the Presidency in an ex-cathedra process far from public view.

According to reports, it is understood a panel appointed by President Cyril Ramaphosa sat for interviews with generals at the Union Buildings on Monday. There is no indication of the procedures to be followed or the names serving on the panel.

“An external panel to vet candidates for the National Commissioner replacement has been appointed and according to sources, consists of people from the private sector. Unfortunately, the whole process is too secretive.  There needs to be more transparency about the panel and the process followed in the appointing of a new National Commissioner.   If general Vuma is at all being considered to replace Sitole, the process is already flawed.  Vuma was found guilty on corruption charges with Sitole just last year,” commented Ian Cameron from Action Society. 

Vuma defended her close links to the illegal procurement, at the inflated cost of R45-million, of a listening device known as a grabber just days before the ANC’s 2017 Nasrec elective conference. The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) believes money was to be laundered for the purchasing of votes.

Cameron continues: “The failing South African Police Services (SAPS) leadership can no longer fall victim to ANC cadre deployment.  Action Society still holds its position that an external panel of policing experts should handle the restructuring of the entire police management according to merit and not political affiliation.  This panel should be made up of individuals that understand what it means to work through the ranks but also have the necessary theoretical knowledge in order to determine who should be the National Commissioner, deputy commissioner, divisional commissioners, their deputies and other top provincial  positions.”

In addition to the vetting of new commissioners, the organisation suggests that the entire SAPS leadership is subjected to a skills audit.

“The same panel must do skills audit of senior management, starting with Deputy National Commissioners, Provincial Commissioners, all their deputies and Divisional Commissioners within SAPS. All commissioners must undergo polygraph tests to confirm/deny involvement in any form of corruption. The skills audit must determine competence and confirm that appoint was not due to any political affiliation or union affiliation (POPCRU) specifically.  If appointment was done due to political affiliation and not due to merit, the necessary remedial steps should be followed.”

“If the status quo concerning existing and new appointments of top leadership withing the SAPS remains unchanged, we will see more cadre deployment by the ANC.  It seems the ANC does not want the SAPS to function properly, because then they will be exposed for the far reaching and massive corruption they have been involved in as the ruling party,” Cameron concludes.

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