Sunday, August 14, 2011
Funeral march of a man who can't step up to the job
Funeral march of a man who can't step up to the job
Jonny Steinberg | 14 August, 2011 03:43
Jonny Steinberg :
Whenever a South African police officer is murdered, General Bheki Cele puts on his ceremonial gear and gives the fallen one a soldier's burial.
Members of the SA Police Service are killed at an average of two a week; General Cele thus spends a lot of his time burying people.
So much so, that whenever I see the general on television or in the newspaper, I think of funerals. Embodied in his image is the seemingly unquestionable truth that people are waging a war against his police officers.
The question may be taboo, but does the war of which the general speaks actually exist? An annualised average of 101 police have been murdered this year. Is that a lot or a little?
The only way to answer that question is comparatively. There are 154000 police officers in the SAPS; if 101 are killed in a year, the per capita murder rate among police officers is 67/100000.
How does that compare with the rest of us? Well, the per capita murder rate for all males in South Africa is about 60/100000, which means that being a police officer in South Africa is a little more dangerous than being a boy or a man.
But the comparison is not, in fact, fair. The SAPS does not recruit children or the elderly, and only a minority of the current crop of police are middle-aged. It makes more sense to compare the police murder rate, not with that of all males, but with that of young men.
The current murder rate among men aged between 20 and 40 is roughly 90/100000. The average young man in South Africa is thus more than 40% more likely to be murdered in the next year than the average police officer.
What are we to make of these figures?
As Antony Altbeker points out in his book, A Country at War with Itself, there is an important difference between police officers and ordinary young men: police officers put themselves in danger.
If they are, nonetheless, being murdered at a rate similar to or lower than national averages, their training seems to be accomplishing the crucial task of keeping them alive.
I am not for a moment suggesting that we should be complacent about the murder of police officers, any more than that we should be resigned to the 17000 or so South Africans killed each year.
What I am suggesting is that we are not complacent; that the measures the police take to protect their own are pretty effective.
Which brings us back to General Cele. The figures above suggest that he has invented a war that does not exist. To put it another way, he has decided to fix something that isn't broken. Why is he doing that?
The short of it, I think, is that General Cele is an extraordinarily limited leader. He knows about fighting wars, and not much else, and so he looks for wars until he finds them.
He is drawn to the dead, and to those who mourn them, because the gravity of their funerals makes him feel like a general leading a band of soldiers, and that is what he is comfortable doing.
Managing a police service well, however, has little to do with fighting wars. Policing is a peacetime occupation, and a very difficult one at that. General Cele spends an alarming amount of his time fixing what isn't broken, while the things that really are in urgent need of repair go unfixed.
The career structure in the SAPS, for instance, is in a state of permanent crisis. The vast majority of SAPS members hit a career ceiling in their mid-30s. For the remaining 20 or 25 years of his career, the average police officer is miserable, the meaning sucked out of his profession; he has no reason to be good at what he does. The organisation becomes dead weight, resisting all innovation.
That their work is made meaningless is a bigger problem for police officers than that they are being killed at the same rate as people who are not police. Yet I have never heard General Cele speak of this problem in the SAPS. I suspect that he hasn't a single idea about how to fix it, for doing so has nothing to do with fighting wars.
It is tragic whenever a police officer is murdered. The tragedy is compounded, though, when an officer's death serves as a cover for a police commissioner who isn't up to the job.
■Steinberg is with Huma at the University of Cape Town
South Africa's once-great police force hijacked by ANC's blacks-only hiring policy
Don't ever believe any ANC-propaganda that the SA police is still even reasonably capable of protecting anyone any longer: the country's security now depends almost entirely on a small army of (fired) Afrikaner cops who now have moved to the country's huge network of private security and detective agencies.
The public forks over a whopping R15-billion annually to this security force... and they not only protect huge swatches of South African cities, suburbia, agricultural regions and business enterprises alike, but also often do other work which should be undertaken by the cops -- such as tracing down criminals and getting them arrested...
This countrywide private security force - created by the ANC regime's racial profiling policies for its police force, now outnumbers the SA police four to one. The country's security now relies almost totally on this small group of well-trained private security officers.
GOVT FAILS TO PROTECT CITIZENS FROM CRIME: DA
Government is failing in its most basic responsibility: to
protect its citizens from harm, Democratic Alliance MP Roy
Jankielsohn said on Tuesday.
Speaking during 'debate' in the National Assembly he said this was evidenced by the fact that employees of private security companies outnumbered the police four to one.
"While we already have almost 20,000 murders, and about 53,000
reported rapes per year, crime statistics would be much higher
without this additional private police force protecting those who
can afford this service, including the police themselves," he said.
"South Africans are afraid of criminals and justifiably so."
57% of South Africans justifiably feared crimes in their own homes..
The Institute for Democracy in South Africa's (Idasa) Afro
Barometer survey on "Public Attitudes to Crime and Security in
South Africa" showed that 57 percent of South Africans justifiably feared crime in their own homes.
34% suffered housebreakings, 19% suffered attacks at home:
A full 34 percent of people surveyed indicated they had had
something stolen from their homes and 19 percent that they, or
someone in their family, had been attacked at home.
"The heart of our families, the home, is no longer safe from
Another survey by the Institute of Security Studies indicated
that up to 50 percent of certain categories of crimes were not even
reported. Citizens had lost their faith in the ability of cops to solve crimes.
This implied that police statistics of reported crimes only told
half the story.
"People on the ground are not fooled by government's
grandstanding on crime because they know from bitter experience that they have to face the criminals in their homes.
"Government's primary responsibility is to protect its citizens
from harm. It is clear that government is failing in this most
Government obsessed with propaganda sideshows
"Government is failing because it is obsessed with sideshows
such as the Firearms Control Act and racial profiling of police
stations instead of dealing with the real issues facing it,"
The Firearms Control Act - launched on July 1, 2004 - targeted
law-abiding citizens's legally-registered firearms -- while criminals continued to use millions of illegal militirary attack weapons such as AK-47s.
Shameful personnel practices at police stations:
"Another sideshow that is destroying morale and the proper
functioning of the police is their shameful personnel practices."
The implementation of Resolution Seven, which enforced a national demographic profile onto provinces and individual stations - instead of using the provincial racial profile which would have served the local community much better -- has had a devastating effect on both the morale of the force and the police's own service delivery.
"Police officials are transferred far from their homes and often
do not even speak the language of the community whom they are meant to serve because of national racial profiling.
Racial profiling: ANC is turning the cops against each other:
"The use of racial criteria to determine promotions is also a
great cause of tension and dissatisfaction across all race groups within the service.
"Once again national racial profiles are applied at local police
stations and many good, well-qualified police officials are
overlooked for promotions because of their race.
"Within this context the idea of career pathing becomes a joke.
However, under these difficult circumstances many police officials
do sterling work and we appreciate this," Jankielsohn said
A HISTORY REPORT:............................>>>>>>> A BLAST FROM THE PAST
Mbeki wants to take over control of the justices:
Meanwhile, the country's judges are also furious - and have formed a united front against Mbeki's plan to change the Constitution and take away the independence of the judiciary.
Mbeki wants to take away the judiciary�s right to administer its own affairs with total independence, away from any government influence - in spite of the fact that this independence is actually entrenched in the country's Constitution...
The judges, including outgoing Chief Justice Arthur Chaskalson and his replacement, Judge Pius Langa, made their opposition known behind closed doors at a two-day meeting attended by Justice Minister Brigitte Mabandla and her deputy, Johnny de Lange, to discuss proposed new laws.
Adv.Johnny de Lange is the dedicated ANC-lackey who also wrote the country's extremely invasive new censorship laws several years ago - and which are much more draconian than censorship ever was during the suppressive apartheid regime. These new laws have given the ANC-regime total access to, for instance, people's mail and all communications on the internet... and South African taxpayers have had to fork over many millions of Rands so that the state's censors can set themselves up in a fancy building in order to spy on their msot private communications.