Ramaphosa wrong about Cele – both should leave

“Minister Bheki Cele’s role is to give strategic guidance to the South African Police Service, not to be first at every scene and in attendance at funerals,” said Ian Cameron, director of community safety at Action Society. “So, for President Ramaphosa to believe that Cele is fulfilling his ministerial duties by doing that just shows that he also does not understand what the minister should be doing.”

President Ramaphosa defended Cele in Parliament yesterday and said he should receive the recognition he deserves. However, since Cele became minister of police in February 2018, the country has reported more than 93 500 murders and 172 400 rapes, increasing annually.

On top of that, StatsSA’s latest ‘Victims of Crime Report’ showed that South Africans report less than 35% of crime incidents against individuals. In addition, Action Society’s survey showed that 92% of road users feel unsafe when pulled over by the police.

Just this week, a video went viral on social media about an extortion incident in Bonteheuwel, Cape Town, against PRASA. The Central line upgrades at Netreg Station had to be stopped because of gangsters sending threats and demanding protection fees.

“This proves that crime and the fight against crime are out of control,” said Cameron. “South Africans have lost almost all their trust in the police, and no amount of being first on the scene or turning up for a funeral will change that. Cele should be working on ways to combat crime before it happens. And his performance agreement and appraisal should reflect that.”

All the ministers had to sign performance agreements in October 2020, and President Ramaphosa said their “performance will be closely monitored against specific targets”. However, in July this year, the Office of the Presidency confirmed to Action Society that “there is no evaluation report as yet on the assessment of Ministers”.

Action Society decided to remind Minister Cele and President Ramaphosa of some of the tasks in his job description:

  • Reduction of organised criminal groups and gangs (including implementation of the National Anti-Gang Strategy) with a target of 90%;
  • Reduce illegal mining through law enforcement with a 100% target;
  • Reduced levels of contact crime with a 7,48% reduction target per annum;
  • Reduced violence against women by 6,9%;
  • Reduced violence against children by 6,73%;
  • Political oversight on strategic planning and reporting;
  • Support good governance through leading participatory governance and social compacts with stakeholders.
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