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LETTER: Cele must demilitarise police

06 April 2020 – 18:41

It is national policy, as per the National Development Plan, that the police should be demilitarised. It is a cabinet-accepted recommendation of the Farlam commission that the demilitarisation be effected as a matter of priority.

It is the duty of the parliamentary police portfolio committee to exercise oversight of the minister of police, who has never shown the slightest inclination to implement the lawful policies of the government of the day. Indeed, before he was dismissed by then president Jacob Zuma from the office of national commissioner of police, the Moloi inquiry into his fitness to hold that office described Bheki Cele as “dishonest and incompetent”.

It also recommended that he be investigated for corruption, so it is a mystery that he is allowed to grace the cabinet. And it is a disgrace that he has not been investigated for his corrupt activities around overly expensive leases for SA Police Service offices.

Instead of heaping symptoms of the brutality of the police onto the Independent Police Investigative Directorate, the loyal opposition should address the cause by compelling the minister to demilitarise the service, which he can do at the stroke of a pen.

The portfolio committee should have him on its carpet for not implementing national policy. If necessary, judge Ian Farlam can be asked to explain to the committee why he made his urgent demilitarisation recommendation.

The president needs to explain to parliament, the portfolio committee and the nation why he keeps Cele in his cabinet when he has such a poor track record, does not implement policy and is so horribly out of step with the express presidential instruction to the police and military to “be kind” when imposing the lockdown.

Paul Hoffman, Accountability Now

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