Police minister Bheki Cele has placed the blame on previous police leaders for the escalating violent crime wave in SA.
An example of the leadership laxity was the fact that the security cluster, in which the police services played a key part, had not met for two years when he took over the portfolio.
“Perhaps that is part of dropping the ball‚” he said. “But now we meet regularly … I am putting all these heads [current police leaders] on the block,” said Cele.
“I don’t want to ask who dropped the ball. We must pick up the ball. For me, that is the most important thing,” Cele said after the presentation in parliament of the crime statistics for the 2017-2018 financial year.
The statistics were largely seen as a reflection of his predecessors Fikile Mbalula and Nathi Nhleko, who held the portfolio under former president Jacob Zuma. Cele was appointed police minister earlier in 2018 by President Cyril Ramaphosa. The 2017-2018 crime statistics showed that SA had recorded an increase in the number of reported serious crimes including murder, attempted murder and sexual offences.
The minister also said the SA Police Service had 10,000 fewer personnel compared with the previous year, a situation that compromised crime-fighting efforts. “We have lost the UN norm of policing which says one policeman to 220 citizens. One police officer is now looking at almost double that,” said Cele.