The Democratic Alliance (DA) congratulates Acting national Police Commissioner Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi for standing up to politicians suffering from electionitis by resisting executive interference in the police and resuspending Richard Mdluli. Mkhwanazi allegedly went head-to-head with Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa by signing off on Mdluli’s suspension letter and ignoring the politicians who allegedly reinstated him. And about time, too.
The Minister of Police made one of the weakest moves in our young democracy by shifting Mdluli sideways to retain him within the South African Police Service (SAPS) following the intense political and public pressure brought to bear on him by the DA and civil society. Today our free media inform us that the Acting Police Commissioner, in possibly the most heroic move of his now shortened career in this position, has had Mdluli locked out of any and all SAPS buildings as well as stripping him of all SAPS equipment and keys.
This is after the wholesale looting of the “Secret” slush fund was revealed. Mkhwanazi has moved swiftly, shifted all administration staff in charge of the R300-million slush fund, and replaced them with 12 new employees.
However one swallow does not a summer make, and what should logically result from these actions is a veritable deluge of criminal charges. The DA maintains that Mdluli must have his day in court to answer to the raft of allegations of criminal conduct against him.
The speed with which Mkhwanazi is now removed from his position as Acting National Police Commisioner will tell South Africans exactly how seriously the current government takes the fight against crime and the need to put clear blue water between the criminals and SAPS members.
Should the speculation be proven true that former ANC Chief Whip and current Director-General of Labour, Adv Nkosinathi Nhleko is tipped to replace Bheki Cele it does not bode well for the SAPS who have been virtually crippled at the top leadership level by two successive disgraced police commissioners.
The appointment of Adv Nhleko, another career politician with no experience in the police, would be beyond disastrous. The SAPS must be run by a career officer who has the strength to run the Service as it should be.