Police Spokesperson Must be Fired for Comments

Anthony Benadie

DA Leader in Mpumalanga

Mpumalanga police spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel Leonard Hlathi is not only arrogant, but his insensitive comments over the escalation of brutal attacks in the Hazyview area are an embarrassment to the SAPS, and he should be fired immediately.

Following yet another robbery at a guest house in the area, Hlathi was quoted in today’s Beeld newspaper that “there is no crisis in Hazyview or anywhere else, and that regular patrols are being done”. He also added that “local businessmen and tourism establishments know that they have to increase their own security, as it is the norm in the entire country.”

Hlathi’s comments are absolutely outrageous, and amounts to an admission that the SAPS is unable to fulfil their constitutional mandate of protecting South African citizens who have the constitutional right to protection by the state. His arrogance and ignorance clearly show how out of touch he is with the communities he serves. In addition, Hlathi’s comments attempt to shift the responsibility of safety and security to the private sector, and literally serves as an instruction to citizens to protect themselves. This risky comment could lead to more and more citizens taking the law into their own hands.

A total of five armed robberies and one murder were recorded in the Hazyview sector since Monday, notwithstanding the spate of others this community has had to endure over the past five years, and we firmly believe that the Hazyview community is faced with a security crisis.

So too, provincial commissioner Lieutenant General Thulani Ntombela must publically state if he shares the views expressed by Hlathi.

The DA will write a formal letter of complaint to commissioner Ntombela, and demand that Hlathi immediately be removed as SAPS spokesperson. The DA also insists that both Hlathi and the commissioner apologise to the people of this province in general, and residents of Hazyview in particular – and commit increased resources to reduce the critical levels of crime in the area.

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