For Police Minister Bheki Cele, South Africa is almost on the brink of a war zone. Almost.
When the 2017-2018 crime statistics were released in September, Cele blamed the bleak state of policing and crime on his predecessors, Nathi Nhleko and Fikile Mbalula. Cele’s been in the job for only nine months.
But gone are the days, Cele said, when the security cluster did not meet. (He said it had not met for two years prior to his appointment).
The 2017-2018 crime stats did little to restore confidence in the police. The annual study showed an increase in serious crimes, such as murder, attempted murder and sexual offences.
Cele has taken a hardline approach toWARDS dealing with protesters. Images of riot police firing teargas and stun grenades at peaceful older protesters in the Bo-Kaap did the police department no favours. NOR did the lack of visible policing at the Global Citizen Festival where muggers moved in after the show was over.
But Cele is trying to achieve good policing with the limited resources available.
“We have lost the UN [United Nations] norm of policing, which says one policeman to 220 citizens. One police officer is now looking at almost double that,” Cele said in September.
An antigang unit has been deployed in the Western Cape to deal with gangsterism. It’s too soon to judge its efficacy, but the cops do seem to be taking action in areas where gang wars threaten innocent lives.
Cele has also been on the ground, holding meetings with land protesters in Hermanus and on the Cape Flats throughout 2018.
The police department did not get a clean audit from the auditor general because it failed to include information on irregular expenditure in its financial statements. Thembekile Kimi Makwetu also repeated throughout his report that the performance of the police department was difficult to gauge because the department “did not have an adequate performance management system”.More On Bheki Cele
|A||Take a bow. You are doing an excellent job.|
|B||Good, but room for improvement.|
|D||Get your act together.|
|E||Do yourself and the country a favour -- resign.|