It cannot be business as usual for people of Western Cape– Lennit Max

Bheki Cele's new special advisor says WC govt must become a genuine partner in this campaign

Statement issued by Lt-General Lennit Max on his appointment as special advisor to the National Minister of Police

2 July 2018

Good morning members of the media and friends who have joined me here today to present my first press statement in my new role as Special Advisor to Minister Bheki Cele, our National Minister of Police.

In drafting this statement I was reminded by the words of our beloved former President Tata Mandela when he said, “I have travelled the length and breadth of this country, met people, spoken to children, the aged, everyone I could touch or see. Everyone seeks peace. Everyone seeks a better life. Everyone wants to work together.”

I use this quote as it reflects my decision most aptly as to why I decided to join national government in an effort to stem the tide of crime in SA and in the province of the Western Cape in particular.

As many of you know I have spent most of my adult life in the police services, in various roles, fighting crime and building a police service that puts our communities needs first and foremost, especially the poor and the vulnerable in society.

I have once again been afforded the opportunity to serve my country in one of the most important ministries in our country and government.

I am deeply honoured and humbled by Minister Cele’s choice of myself to serve in his Ministry and help fight crime and build a police that is world class in serving our people.

It is my belief that this calling for me to serve in our government is in line with President Ramaphosa’s clarion call when he says Thuma Mina, South Africans (Send Me).

I am ready to serve, my fellow South Africans and ask you to follow me.

My focus as Special Advisor to Minister Cele will be to rally communities across the length and breadth of South Africa to join hands with our police service to push back crime, especially those related to gang violence and violence perpetrated against women and children. In particular I want to spend time focusing on rural crime fighting initiatives looking at farm killings and ensuring that communities of Gugulethu, Nyanga, Delft, Mitchells Plain etc, get the best policing services our province can offer.

Practice in SA and all over the world has proven that where communities and police work together, crime will decrease; this was evident in the Western Cape, during the BAMBANANI project of 2002-2008. Where thousands of community volunteers joined SAPS to fight crime on trains, in schools, etc.

I furthermore want to give special attention to our men and women in blue, as being policemen and women in these challenging times is not easy. And we must never underestimate the sacrifices our police make everyday to safe guard our families and friends.

The decision to join national government was also borne from my frustrations for not being allowed to use my skills and expertise to curb crime in the Western Cape. I as a trained police officer could no longer sit by idle and supervising the department of Cultural Affairs and Sport by visiting Archives, Libraries and watching Opera whilst our women and children are slaughtered by gangsters on the Cape Flats. I approached the leadership, offered my skills, but it was declined by Helen Zille, Mmusi Maimane and James Self. This not only frustrated, but angered me.

Here in particular I want to draw your attention to a debate that James Self raised in respect Section 206 of the RSA Constitution, that gives powers to Provinces regarding crime fighting initiatives. This matter was raised with Premier Zille, but again no action was taken by the DA leadership in this regard. An opportunity again missed by the DA leadership.

In contrast to Minister Bheki Cele, I met him once and outlined my vision in the fight against crime, he agreed, “we need your expertise and help, join me” he said. Being the practical man he is, I soon got the invite to join his Ministry on a 12 month contract to bolster their anti-crime projects in communities, this is the quality of leadership SA demands in these times.

The time for talking is over, action against crime is demanded.  

I believe our fight against crime crosses all divides, especially the political divides. One of my key focal areas as a Special Advisor is the Western Cape, I will work with Provincial Commissioner Lt-General Jula and his senior management team especially those that have achieved successes in their fields work. It is a known fact, that Jeremy Veary has implemented some of the most successful anti gang initiatives in our province, not only linked to the arrest of gangsters, but more importantly their convictions in our courts.

The Western Cape government must become a genuine partner in this campaign, but the reality is, it cannot be business as usual for the people of this province. In many instances we have failed our communities and this must stop.

President Ramaphosa in his State of Nation address in 2018, spoke of the need for a responsive government, this requires of us in government to be in tune with the needs of our people and listening to our people. I will take this directive to all communities I engage.

Change is coming in the way we fight crime.

Thuma Mina.

Issued by Lennit Max, Special Advisor to the National Minister of Police, 2 July 2018