Minister Plato welcomes Minister Nhleko’s reference group to improve SAPS performance

Dan Plato, MPP

Western Cape Minister of Community Safety

I welcome the establishment of a reference group by National Police Minister Nathi Nhleko to investigate and report on the efficiency of the South African Police Service (SAPS) management.

The terms of reference for the group to investigate should give National Minister Nhleko a clear indication where the specific areas in need of improvement are for the SAPS, both nationally but also in the Western Cape.

I am of the strong opinion that the people in the Western Cape are not getting the quality of policing service delivery that they deserve. This is confirmed time and again when listening to the complaints arising from communities.

I further welcome the investigation into the allegations of the Western Cape Provincial Police Commissioner’s alleged links with drug kingpins in the province as the findings will hopefully bring this lengthy matter to a close and allow policing management to focus on serving the public.

This additional investigation by the reference group must however not undermine the existing investigation undertaken by the Hawks of the same nature or the outstanding findings of the National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA’s) on the case.

I remain concerned with this specific matter as conflicting reports and numerous letters from my office to the National Minister of Police, his predecessor, and the provincial office of the NPA has still not brought any clarity or finality to this lengthy and damaging investigation.

The people of the Western Cape need to be assured that the provincial SAPS management is beyond reproach and the dedicated police men and women on the ground not only need clear and strategic direction in order to perform their duty but also need faith in the offices where the direction originates from.

Though the reference group will focus primarily on the appointments, suspensions and disciplinary and criminal proceedings involving senior police management, it will also focus on the alleged involvement of police officers in illegalities, issues with crime intelligence, together with transformation problems within the broader SAPS structure.

I trust that the reference group will be able to conduct their investigation and compile their findings with the full support of the entire SAPS and without interference.

It is important that the working of the reference group and its findings ultimately improve the performance of the SAPS as well as the quality of policing services to the people.

I look forward to raising the outcomes of the reference group at the earliest possible meeting between the National Minister of Police and the corresponding provincial executives following the reference group’s report back to Minister Nhleko in December.