Narissa Subramoney
Copy rewriter
3 minute read
1 Dec 2021
4:55 pm

Action Society slams police commissioner after SAHRC testimony

Narissa Subramoney

Action Society slams National Police Commissioner, saying urgent reform and competent policing is needed to tackle GBV.

National Police Commissioner General Khehla John Sitole. Picture: Jacques Nelles

Civil rights group Action Society has slammed national police commissioner Khehla Sitole after his testimony at the South African Human Rights Commission hearing into the July unrest.

Action Society said Sitole appeared clueless when he could not recall the number of people who died in Phoenix.

Sitole also admitted that he did not have a National Diploma in Policing – a qualification that most of his subordinates possess.

Ian Cameron, spokesperson for Action Society, said that South Africa had not had a single qualified police commissioner at national level in the past 20 years.

“Our country can no longer afford political appointments. We need the best of the best to protect families, specifically the women and children of South Africa,” said Cameron.

A history of political deployment has destroyed Saps

Action Society slams police commissioner after SAHRC testimony
Saps political deployment history

Cameron said political appointments had plunged Saps into a state of disarray. He referenced the first political appointment of the now late and disgraced former police commissioner Jackie Selebi.

“Selebi started with the implementation of ANC cadre deployment. He also neutralised efforts of really clamping down on professional syndicates when he disbanded specialist units,” said Cameron.

Current national Police Minister Bheki Cele was initially fired for corruption when he previously occupied the police commissioner post, and he also has no police background.

“Riah Phiyega was also an ANC appointment with zero police experience. She awarded herself a series of unearned medals during her tenure,” said Cameron.

Phiyega was deemed unfit for office by the Claassen inquiry and was exposed for doctoring reports at the Farlam Commission of Inquiry into the Marikana massacre.

“During her time as Commissioner, 1 in 10 cops had criminal records,” said Cameron.

Khomotso Phahlane was a career officer who appeared like a fit candidate by having actual police experience, but he was also eventually sacked for corruption.

“Sitole is a combination of all of the above. He has police experience but no tertiary education. He is the first National commissioner to admit that the SAPS can’t fulfil their constitutional mandate,” said Cameron.

We need a proper police force to deal with GBV

“The fight against gender-based violence (GBV) can’t be won if we continue with political appointments. GBV is the biggest pandemic our country has ever faced and increased rapidly,” stressed Cameron.

His comments come as the Commission of Gender Equality (CGE) announced that it wants a meeting with police to tackle the growing rate of statutory rape across all nine provinces.

CGE spokesperson Javu Baloyi said the country is experiencing a growing pregnancy rate among girls below the legal sex consensual age of 16.

“The CGE is of the view that the sexual abuse of young girls is playing a significant role in exposing them to HIV infections and early pregnancies,” said Baloyi.

The Gauteng department of health recorded more than 23,000 teenage pregnancies between April 2020 and March 2021, with at least 934 girls between the ages of 10 and 14 giving birth.

“The country should be concerned by these developments, as they reveal a normalised and widespread statutory rape culture, which exposes young girls to the HIV epidemic,” said Baloyi.

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