The Democratic Alliance will write to the President and the chairperson of the Public Service Commission tomorrow, raising concerns about the allegations that the National Police Commissioner Bheki Cele has violated both public service and police regulations. Our complaint relates to reports in the media today, making a number of allegations about the Commissioner.
It is a fact that eight out of 10 of his known latest appointments come from his Province of KwaZulu-Natal, which may indeed be interpreted as provincial nepotism, but more seriously is the claim that some of his appointees have been bounced up the ranks overnight by as much as five levels.
The President has a duty to investigate the matter politically, the Public Service Commission, procedurally.
If the allegations are correct, they would be in violation of regulations, specifically the National Instructions 3/2000 and 2/2005, which expressly forbid promotion of members in this manner - in other words, allowing juniors to be elevated above more senior personnel.
In that the claims are also that he is guilty of fast-tracking the careers of others related to people around him, it seems that the ANC's default position of cronyism has indeed been settled upon.
The DA had requested that a career police officer be appointed to the position of National Police Commissioner following Jackie Selebi's fall from grace but knew full well that cronyism had already been entrenched within the SAPS. On the 20th September 2007 we published an investigation into promotion patterns within the SAPS, which showed that Selebi was making excessive and extreme promotions of individuals who lacked the experience or training necessary to hold the positions they were promoted into. As such the SAPS was compromised by Selebi as he consistently promoted junior cronies into positions of seniority. The implications for morale and respect were dire. It was then that another career politician, Bheki Cele, was appointed.
The fact that this current Police Commissioner and his KZN advisors, including his spokesperson - formerly of Ukhozi fm - are failing to advise him of the possibility that he may be breaking the law, and flouting SAPS regulations, is perhaps indicative of their inexperience in the workings of this Ministry. If they are not failing to do so, the only other option is that he is simply not listening, which is exactly what Jackie Selebi did when he occupied the same position.
All of this goes to the question of good governance. The public service, especially the Police Service, must be impartial and unbiased. If it is not, if people are appointed on the basis of their political allegiance or some consideration other than merit, the effect is two fold: on the one hand, the integrity of the service is undermined; on the other, the decisions it makes become questionable - if senior members are politically compromised, their judgement is also impaired. Indeed, even if a particular decision is correct on the merits, it becomes suspect in the eyes of the public. All of which is the determinant of the public service in general and the Police Service in particular.