The South African Policing Union (SAPU) would like to welcome the suspension of National Police Commissioner Bheki Cele. We are of the view that whilst we do not enjoy anybody’s downfall because that is un-African, SAPU feels vindicated by this development. When wild allegations surfaced against the national commissioner SAPU called for his leave of absence pending an independent investigation.
We also fully welcome the appointment of a board of inquiry into his alleged misconduct. That process will afford the general an opportunity to clear his name. The process initiated by President Jacob Zuma into the so-called police lease scandal will bring back the confidence that our people including the men and women in blue had lost in the police. The credibility of the SAPS was at stake because there were questions about our commitment to clean governance and the fight against corruption.
SAPU also welcomes the appointment of Major-General Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi as the acting national police commissioner. Without finding General Cele guilty of anything in welcoming General Mkhwanazi’s appointment SAPU calls upon the president to seriously consider a career police officer if there would be any changes in the top leadership of the SAPS. There are many senior officers with both skills, experience and academic qualification who understand the culture and environment of the police whom we feel can do far better when afforded an opportunity.
SAPU would also like once again to remind the President that we have been consistent that it would always be ideal to have a national commissioner from within the ranks of the SAPS. Although we respect and acknowledge his prerogative to appoint the national commissioner as our director-general, he must seriously consider appoint a police to lead the police. The Divisional Commissioners currently in the top SAPS management are amongst the best candidates for the job.