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Corruption commonplace amongst police: ISS

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The current corruption case involving suspended Western Cape police commissioner Lieutenant General, Arno Lamoer marks yet another shameful scandal that is likely to further deter public perceptions of the South African Police Services (SAPS), according to a senior researcher at the Institute for Security Studies (ISS).

Lamoer and three of his senior officers are currently facing a total of 109 charges ranging from corruption to money laundering. The four officers are also accused of accepting bribes from co-accused, businessman Salim Dawjee. All parties willingly handed themselves over to police on Friday.

However, the ISS’s Johan Burger said such issues of corruption within the top ranks of the police were becoming more commonplace. This dated back to the reigns of former top cop Jackie Selebi, convicted and jailed on charges of corruption, and successor Bheki Cele, also dismissed from the position. He added that the current stewardship of Commissioner Riah Phiyega was also riddled with incidents of misconduct, criminality and suspensions.

“It’s just an ongoing saga of incompetence and crisis at the senior level of SAPS. This is extremely bad for public confidence in the police, but it is also a problem for police officers themselves. For those men and women who are really trying to do their best, this is (unfortunately) the kind of leadership they have,” he said.

This is likely to further dent the confidence of officers themselves. Whilst the general discussion amongst them would be expected to focus on addressing crime on the streets, Burger said most were now concerned about the corruption and crime within their own structures, notably at a senior level.

He noted that there were a number of incidents within the police, and Phiyega’s management thereof, that brought about a solitary conclusion – political interference. A prime example of this was the high profile saga involving crime head, Richard Nduli.

“You can go back to the appointment of Nduli as head of crime intelligence by a panel of three ministers, which is out of order in terms of the police’s own policy on the appointment of senior offices,” he explained, adding that once Mdluli had been charged with corruption, there had been every attempt on the part of government to prevent him appearing before a judge.

In the case of Mdluli, Phiyega even went as far as to declare that she would take action against him until a court case was finalized. He stressed that there were several other high profile examples of political interference within the daily operations of SAPS.

Burger was not entirely pessimistic, highlighting that there was a way to address the “rampant corruption” plaguing South Africa’s police structures. This came in the form of the National Development Plan (NDP), which had constructive recommendations on the ‘competitive appointment’ of national police commissioners and their deputies.

“Once we implement those recommendations it can go a long way towards stabilizing the top management of SAPS,” he added. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)

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