NEWS & ANALYSIS

Shortlist of candidates for Head of Hawks must be made public – Zakhele Mbhele

DA MP says Committee has Constitutional duty to exercise oversight over appointment process

Shortlist of candidates for Head of Hawks must be made public

23 November 2017

The DA will write to Police Minister, Fikile Mbalula, to urge him to make public the shortlist of candidates for a new permanent Head of the Hawks.

If Mbalula has not done so by 1 December 2017, we will write to the Police Portfolio Committee Chairperson, Francois Beukman, to urge him to request that Mbalula makes the shortlist available to the Committee. The Committee has the rightful powers and Constitutional duty to exercise oversight over this appointment process and therefore has the right to receive this information.

President Zuma’s surprise appointment late yesterday of the new permanent National Police Commissioner, Lieutenant General Kehla John Sithole, who provided Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma with the blue-light brigades for her ANC campaign, has continued his lamentable record of failing to elevate uncompromised candidates for the job.

Mbalula is on record that he is finalising the appointment process for the Hawks Head. The lack of a transparent and independent process to date warrants a serious cause for concern that the decision will once again be taken behind closed doors against unknown criteria.

If the appointment is as imminent as Mbalula has indicated, the shortlist must already have been drawn up.

Ordinary South Africans do not feel safe in our country and rightly so, as 52 people are murdered and 109 raped every day on average in our country. The scourge of organised violent crime continues to terrorise our country and citizens no longer trust the police.

This is ultimately because of the chronic failure of the Hawks, and more broadly the SAPS, to reduce organised crime. This crisis is the combination of leadership instability owing to several senior management positions being filled by personnel in acting capacities and tragically poor leadership with skewed priorities who fail to get the basics right.

The only hope for tackling crime effectively is having fit-for-purpose police management and the appointment of a competent and experienced senior career police officer as the Hawks Head will be vital to turning the tide against organised crime.

But Mbalula seems more concerned about promoting as many as 600 former MK and APLA personal ahead of the ANC’s elective conference next month. He needs to prioritise efficient and effective top brass in the police over internal party politics.

This leadership should be charged with fixing the fundamentals and turning the Hawks around to pursue more swift and quality investigations and increase its detection and conviction rates.

Issued by Zakhele Mbhele, DA Shadow Minister of Police, 23 November 2017