Out: Cele, In: Phiyega
||24 June 2012 07:00
Esté de Klerk
|Show: ||Carte Blanche|
[Carte Blanche archive] Man 1: "He actually kicked me in full view of my security guard."
[Carte Blanche archive] Man 2: "One officer put me into a choke-hold and I couldn't breathe."
[Carte Blanche archive] Woman 1: "They slapped me with an open full hand across my head three times."
[Carte Blanche archive] Man 3: "Then they put a rope around my neck..."
[Carte Blanche archive] Woman 2: "After putting that wires here, they put a plastic over my face (cries)."
[Carte Blanche archive] Woman 3: "The police don't have permission to shoot us, but they are still shooting us. What for?"
South African policing stands at a crossroad. Its image, not always justified, is that of an unkind, uncaring force with an unnecessarily aggressive approach that seems to come from the top."
[ZA NEWS] Bheki Cele: "The rule of law is the rule of big mama [gun]... bada, bada, boom, boom, bang! We are kicking crime for everybody... even for the madams."
The words 'shoot first and ask later' have been satirised time and time again and have become associated with former police commissioner Bheki Cele, in reference to Section 49 of the Criminal Procedure Act, which allows the use of deadly force in effecting arrest. But he didn't write the law, says the ex-general.
General Bheki Cele (Former National Police Commissioner): "No, it is not so. I found the Criminal Procedure Act here when I was appointed and I am leaving it here now that I have been fired - for you to use it."
Cele was appointed Police Commissioner in 2009 after Jackie Selebi's departure to serve a 15-year sentence for corruption. Known for his swanky outfits and outspokenness, he was dubbed 'the gangster with the badge'. And he says his way worked.
Bheki Cele: "We succeeded to remove crime as a subject of discussion by terrified and despondent South Africans as they gathered around dinner tables and social functions like weddings and funerals."
Last year's crime stats proved his point.
[Carte Blanche September 2011) Nathi Mthethwa (Minister of Police): "Indeed the tide against crime is turning and that police, joined by society, are gaining an upper hand against vicious criminals."
But a drop in crime didn't save Cele from being axed after a finding by Justice Jakes Moloi that he was unfit for office.
Bheki: "So in the aftermath of the President's announcement of his decision to fire me, I will not engage in any pointless back-chatting. I will simply shut up and go home."
Fire with fire, shoot to kill... that was the old way.
Bongani Bingwa (Carte Blanche presenter): "The new commissioner is adopting a less abrasive approach. She says she is only here to add and, together with the men and women in blue, they all hope to make South Africa safer for all of us."
General Riah Phiyega (National Police Commissioner): "It means an opportunity to give back; because of what I am, because of this country."
Until recently not many South Africans had even heard of Mrs Riah Phiyega. Now she is General Phiyega - South Africa's first female Top Cop who promises to inspire her men and women in blue to serve the nation proudly.
General Phiyega: "And I think I am very, very equal to the task to bring those leadership qualities. And inspiration, it doesn't matter where you are, if you're a leader, even if you were to give me a congregation today, and you say I'm a leader, I'll take that torch and I'll take that inspiration."
To some, her appointment came as a surprise. Even though she has admirable management credentials as a former group executive at ABSA and Transnet and the chairman of the presidential review committee on parastatals, she has never led an organisation as large and complex as the police service.
General Phiyega: "I've learnt from business. I have the opportunity to take from business to the public sector. Those skills are versatile; an organisation is an organisation. Whether you run a family, whether you run a church, whether you run ABSA, you have to nuance those skills and just make sure your organisation succeeds."
But still not an easy job for an outsider, says political analyst, Steven Friedman.
Steven Friedman (Political analyst): "Look, we have been on this road before. Meyer Khan, who was a revered businessman - South African Breweries - he was brought in to fix the police service and he had this reputation for being one of the smartest men in business. He couldn't do it. I am not saying that she is doomed to fail; I am saying that this is a long shot, given how difficult it is for an outsider to understand the police."
Yes, especially if it's an under-resourced police service with an image tarnished by brutality and corruption.
Steven: "It is not only this corruption in high places and whether people were friends with Glen Agliotti or not. A lot of policing in this country is negatively affected by the perception of ordinary citizens on the ground that the police are actually working for the bad guys. And, until you can crack that, people are not going to give the police the information they need because they think it will land up in the hands of the people they are scared of, rather than the people they want to be protected from."
General Phiyega: "I think it is our responsibility as a team to sit down and take very, very serious lessons out of those."
Bongani: "Although General Cele's tough talk was meant to scare the criminals, it is ordinary South Africans who have become fearful of the police because, if one of those cars [police vehicle on screen] pulls you over at night, many of us don't want to stop."
Prince Mashele (Political analyst): "Because of the aggression!"
This created a culture of fear and distrust in the police, says political analyst, Prince Mashele.
Prince: "Because police commissioner Cele had this aggressive posture, that whole thing cascaded down through the ranks of the police. So police officers... junior police officers... felt that they had the right to stop you and be aggressive. You are never going to win the confidence of communities if you do that."
Bongani: "Many South Africans feel because of all the bad publicity and all the negative things that have happened, they don't trust South African police officers."
General Phiyega: "I can't blame them, because that is a personal experience. Perhaps the challenge that is before us is how we turn that around."
Steven: "She is going to have to work very hard to change that and, unless you change that, it is very difficult to imagine changing anything else."
Prince: "There must be no allegations of political interference; she must come across as an independent leader."
Bongani: "Jackie Selebi, Bheki Cele, Richard Mdluli - names at the very top of our police establishment - have been dogged with constant accusations of corrupt dealings and inappropriate activities. It has done much to remove public confidence in the police."
Prince: "If I were her... that would be among the first pronouncements and say: 'I am serious about cleaning up the mess in the police. All allegations of corruption are going to be investigated'."
Steven: "If she is able to score some early successes. If there is any kind of high-profile corruption going on and somebody is being made an example of, that may help, because then you start sending a message down the line that there is no impunity."
Prince: "The greatest test for her will be: what does she do with the case involving Richard Mdluli. Remember, there is an allegation, as we speak, that Nathi Mthethwa benefited in the corruption committed in the intelligence slush fund. The question is: what does she do? Does she investigate her own boss?"
Steven: "I think the message she should send out is that the police service is going to go back to what it is supposed to be - it is a service, rather than a force; it is there to serve the public. It is there to work with the public, not to shoot the public."
All Riah Phiyega wants, she says, is support in what's undoubtedly going to be a tough ask.
General Phiyega: "The two hundred thousand women and men that are here want to make a difference, they want to move forward. And I would invite the nation that... while the team is being chastised, encourage them to carry on."
IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER:While every attempt has been made to ensure this transcript or summary is accurate, Carte Blanche or its agents cannot be held liable for any claims arising out of inaccuracies caused by human error or electronic fault. This transcript was typed from a transcription recording unit and not from an original script, so due to the possibility of mishearing and the difficulty, in some cases, of identifying individual speakers, errors cannot be ruled out.