AfriForum urges Police Commissioner to focus on crime, not politics.

The civil rights organisation AfriForum has urged the newly appointed National Commissioner of the South African Police Service (SAPS), General Fannie Masemola, to not get bogged down in politics like many of his predecessors but to focus on fighting crime. The timely appointment of the new National Commissioner, following the recent termination of General Sitole’s contract, has negated the need for an acting commissioner and will hopefully lead to the stability, modernization, and renewal of trust that the SAPS so desperately needs. Having been part of the SAPS’ senior national leadership since 2016, Masemola should have a clear picture of the most pressing issues within the service.

AfriForum also notes the president’s statements regarding a more inclusive approach to policing and the need to join hands with different sectors of society. AfriForum reiterates, in that regard, the organisation’s willingness to work together with the SAPS to create a safer South Africa. This applies both to AfriForum neighbourhood watches’ continued cooperation with local police officials on ground level to combat crime, as well as to efforts to improve national police strategy. This could include the creation of specific counterstrategies for specific crimes such as farm attacks and murders, and the implementation thereof at a national level.

“One could wonder why Masemola was not able to provide the necessary leadership to turn the SAPS ship around in his previous, already very senior roles. We nonetheless hope that his appointment will not lead to a continuation of what we have seen in the SAPS for the past few years. If Masemola uses his knowledge and experience to focus on long term improvements rather than mere short-term movements, he might be able to successfully lead the SAPS into the future,” says Guido Urlings, Manager of Support Services for AfriForum’s Community Safety department.

In that regard, AfriForum has taken note of concerns regarding the new National Commissioner’s age and the possibility of him going on pension within the next few years. “This would seriously jeopardize the policy stability that the SAPS so desperately needs, and we therefore sincerely hope that this was considered during the decision-making process,” says Jacques Broodryk, Campaigns Manager at AfriForum.

“We congratulate the new commissioner on his appointment, and we look forward to constructive engagements with him on the SAPS’ important role within South African communities. We hope that he will take the president’s comments to heart, improving the SAPS’ relations with other role-players, such as AfriForum neighbourhood watches, therewith rebuilding communities’ trust,” Broodryk concludes.

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