IT's time for a real cop to lead the SAPS. The last three national police commissioners have all been politically motivated civilian appointments.
All three – Jackie Selebi, Bheki Cele and the incumbent, Riah Phiyega – have shown the spectacular folly of placing a civilian with no policing experience in charge of the SAPS. No matter what the government spin machine says, policing is a science, it requires specialised skills honed over years of experience in the field.
The entire purpose of the hierarchical rank system is to ensure that those who eventually do attain leadership have garnered the necessary experience and insight by rising through the ranks. This government believes that simply dressing a cadre in a fancy uniform can miraculously turn him or her into a general overnight, it is horribly wrong.
Crime and criminality is one of the major factors affecting our citizens and our economy daily. The sad reality is that we lack strong leadership, have abjectly failed to get to grips with the scourge and the incidence of crime remains stubbornly high.
The latest debacle where commissioner Phiyega appointed a senior officer facing a string of criminal charges, and then reversed the decision, should be the final straw. As if this wasn't bad enough Phiyega then tried to obfuscate the matter by saying it was only a "provisional" appointment when it was obviously not.
This humiliation comes hot on the heels of the Marikana tragedy, the Cele SAPS lease scandal and the international embarrassment of Selebi's involvement with gangsters. The criminals must be laughing all the way to the bank.
Surely the time has come for us to appoint a national commissioner who actually knows something about policing and restore some dignity to the SAPS?
John Steenhuisen, DA MP, Cape Town