- According to Police Minister Bheki Cele recently revealed that 27 Crime Intelligence Unit members have convictions against their names
- 20 of these convicts are "minor" while 7 are "serious"
- The DA wants more details on the convicted officers and why they're still able to work as officers
The Democratic Alliance recently asked the question: How trustworthy is the South African police force?
Dianne Kohler Barnard - Democratic Alliance MP - wrote a written Parliamentary question and the Police Minister Bheki Cele had to answer.
Whether the South African Police Force can be trusted is up to everyone to decide for themselves when they learn what Police Minister Bheki Cele had to say.
In his answer, Cele said that 20 members of the Crime Intelligence Unit have criminal records that are related to the Road Traffic Act - probably parking and speeding tickets.
Although it is unacceptable for police officers to have any kind of criminal record, these could be considered a "lesser evil", because 7 officers have criminal records of a serious nature.
Barnard had also asked from which province each offending officer was, what rank they were and what crimes the officers were guilty off.
Cele did not give details that could provide satisfactory answers.
This lack of details is worrying and makes one wonder why the Police Minister is not being transparent with such important information.
The fact that the question was not answered in full, leads one to wonder what information is being hidden. The DA will ask follow-up questions to elicit more details.
Barnard feels that it is not acceptable to allow police officers with serious convictions to remain part of the South African police force.
She said that leaving them in roles of authority shows a serious failure of leadership that compromises South Africa's fight against crime.
The fact that there’s a dark cloud over the entire SAPS leadership should be a cause for concern for Minister Cele.
Cele's slow and vague response to the questions asked can be seen as him approving in a way of the internal rot and mismanagement of the South African police force.
The systemic failure of SAPS leadership is disturbing and the need for the SAPS to be professionalised could not be more dire.
Cele also said that the new head of the Crime Intelligence Unit - Lieutenant General Peter Jacobs - is investigating the 7 serious convictions and the circumstances surrounding each case.
Barnard conceded that the issues within the South African police force was not created by Police Minister Bheki Cele, but feels it is up to him to repair the broken system. Cele was appointed as Police Minister in February.
Police Minister Bheki Cele inherited this problem, but he cannot allow criminals to remain in the SAPS and must account for those found guilty of crimes immediately. Criminals cannot be responsible for keeping our country safe.
This once again highlights a nationwide problem of police members with criminal records and raises questions about the effectiveness of the police top brass.
The state of the South African police force is indeed worrying matter. Briefly.co.za earlier reported that some members of the force is illiterate.
Members of Parliament's police portfolio committee were left shocked when they were told that the SAPS still has illiterate members in its ranks.
This has been confirmed by Sehlahle Masemola, the deputy commissioner for policing when asked about the monitoring police pocketbooks.
Briefly.co.za learned that MPs have received complaints of people being turned away from police stations when they have lodged complaints.
These facts put together are a sad indication of the work that lies ahead for Police Minister Bheki Cele.
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