- Major-General Sandra Malebe-Thema has been dismissed for racist and degrading remarks towards white police officers
- This follows her comments at a 2016 event in Oudtshoorn, where she had commented that there were 'too many white faces' in positions
- The General had also commented on the clothing and weight of select officials, accusing them of corruption
Major-General Sandra Malebe-Themba has been dismissed for racist remarks made towards training personnel at an event in Oudtshoorn in 2016.
The disciplinary committee ruled that the senior officer should be summarily dismissed following her conviction on three charges of serious misconduct late last year.
At the time of the offensive comments Malebe-Themba had been the component head of basic police development in the human resources development division for the police.
The ‘unacceptable and inappropriate’ remarks she made regarding race as well as ‘humiliating and divisive’ comments on the weight of select staff at the SAPS Training Academy event.
According to Solidarity, who had obtained a court order in 2017 to force the SAPS to begin an internal investigation against the senior officer, she had stated that there had been too many white faces occupying positions and that the discrimination against black students would be stopped.
Added to this, The Citizen reported that she had made comments about staff’s clothing and weight, accusing some staff of corruption.
Advocate Sumayya Tilly, who had headed the disciplinary committee, has said that this misconduct was exceptionally serious due the the discrimination involved as well as the attack on a person’s dignity and could not be overlooked.
According to Tilly, Malebe-Thema had shown a total lack of remorse and had maintained by what she had done, even saying she would do the same thing today.
The General’s length of service and the otherwise untainted disciplinary record had not played a large role when she had been found guilty of misconduct.
The Advocate had found that the general’s remarks had done emotional damage to the staff involved and had a negative impact on their work as well as their personal lives.
One woman had testified that she had felt so humiliated and hurt that she had become so depressed she had needed medical assistance and hospitalisation.
“…As a senior policewoman [Thema] ought to have known better than to conduct herself in the manner that she did, by among other things directing discriminatory derogatory, disparaging and improper remarks to her subordinates, which were not only divisive but also resulting in bringing the SAPS into disrepute and prejudiced the discipline of the academy,”
Anton van der Bijl, head of legal services at Solidarity, has said they have submitted a formal complaint with the Human Rights Commission and that some of the general’s subordinates had also laid charges against her.
Van der Bijl went on to say that this matter had been one of the few occasions where justice had prevailed in a matter where a black person had been blatantly racist towards white people. Solidarity believes that this resolution would be a lesson for the country that racism was not colour blind.
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