Police union says Khehla Sitole’s suspension would be justified
Commissioner has failed in his duties as evidenced by his defying orders that has placed citizens at risk, Ipusa says
The Independent Policing Union of SA (Ipusa) says the suspension of national police commissioner Khehla Sitole would be justified as the SA Police Service (SAPS) has not performed under his leadership.
“While the suspension or dismissal of any employee should never give room for one to score any points ... after carefully watching with shame the demise of SAPS, we regrettably welcome the intended suspension of the national police commissioner Mr Khehla Sitole,” the union said in a statement. “Our regret emanates from the fact his failures put everyone in SA at risk.”
On Wednesday, media reported that President Cyril Ramaphosa had sent Sitole a notice of intention to suspend him, but Sitole would not be drawn on the matter. He referred TimesLIVE to police spokesperson Vish Naidoo, who said he could neither confirm nor deny an enquiry about the purported notice.
Ipusa said the most recent crime statistics, which show an increase in murder, attempted murder, sexual offences and all categories of assault was an indication that the country was in a “war zone”, while Sitole was involved in “internal wrangling”.
“This also includes him defying the police minister’s orders, just to satisfy his political cronies while putting the lives of SA citizens and all in the country in jeopardy and ... even police officers get killed in the process,” said the union.
Civil claims against the SAPS have rocketed to more than R160bn, Ipusa noted, adding, “Crime Intelligence has been in shambles for a very long time and there seems to be no strategic plan by the commissioner to rescue SAPS from its forever dwindling image.
“Among the list of the commissioner’s failures [is] the high court’s [finding] that he breached his legal obligation to investigate crime and help Ipid [the Independent Police Investigative Directorate] investigations by refusing to declassify the secret services’ account documents, [which in itself] warranted a straight dismissal,” the union said.
The SAPS would only improve if it was depoliticised and demilitarised, and the “right people” were appointed to take up leadership roles.
Police minister Bheki Cele’s office said he would not be commenting on Sitole's pending suspension, and acting presidency spokesperson Tyrone Seale declined to comment.