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By Editorial staff

Journalist


A thorough cleaning of house is needed in policing

If the bosses don’t care about doing their jobs, why should you?


When mom and dad fight, the kids get traumatised and can’t focus.

Sadly, it is true of dysfunctional organisations, too – like the South African Police Service (Saps).

The ugly public spat between Police Minister Bheki Cele and national police commissioner General Khehla Sitole is one of the reasons crime is spiralling out of control and, as was proved graphically during the riots and looting in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng in July last year, it is a threat to national security.

Policing expert at the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) Dr Johan Burger said: “The disagreement creates further mistrust in top leadership and the uncertainty has a negative impact morale of police members in general.”

That’s easy to comprehend. If the bosses don’t care about doing their jobs, why should you?

That sort of attitude is becoming increasingly commonplace in those most vital of civil service careers, policing, health and education, because many people entering those areas do so only because it is “a job”.

ALSO READ: ‘We’re not friends’ – Cele explains ‘fallout’ with Sitole

Yet, just as there are many nurses and teachers who regard what they do as a vocation and a duty to their fellow citizens, so, too, are there cops who only want to serve.

And many of them are prepared to put their lives on the line for us.

Those are the people who are the victims of the current in-fighting in the ANC which is, in reality, what is behind the wrangle between Cele and Sitole.

As analyst Daniel Silke pointed out, it is bad enough when factional battles in the ruling party affect the running of state-owned enterprises … but when “you have division within the security cluster itself and political battles occur in the broader safety and security terrain, you create the atmosphere for substantial destabilisation”.

A thorough cleaning of house is needed in policing, both uniformed and civilian leadership.