Sitole overusing SAPS Regulation 45 - Zakhele Mbhele

DA MP says SAPS national commissioner has made 16 appointments to his private office this way

Is the Police Commissioner using SAPS Regulation 45 to bloat his private office?

reply to a DA parliamentary question shows that National Police Commissioner (NPC) Khehla Sitole is seemingly promoting individuals to bloat his office at a rapid rate.

More worryingly, this is being done in a manner that is not transparent at all and underscores the DA's position that the professionalisation of the police service will only be possible when there are transparent, competitive and merit-based appointment and promotion processes in the South African Police Service (SAPS) as a matter of course.

The DA has previously requested that Police Minister Bheki Cele urgently repeal Regulation 45(1)(n) of the SAPS Employment Regulations due to the continued abuse which has seen successive NPC promote individuals who may not be fit-for-purpose.

The Regulation provides that the National Commissioner, with the concurrence of the Minister, may promote an employee into a post without advertising the post, and without following the prescribed selection process, if the National Commissioner is satisfied that:

- the employee qualifies in all aspects for the post;

- there are exceptional circumstances that warrant the deviation from the said sub-regulation;

- such deviation is in the interest of Service.

It is concerning that it only took Sitole just under 5 months to apply this regulation, as his predecessors did previously. Since Sitole took office, he has used Regulation 45 to promote 16 SAPS members. At this rapid rate, it would mean that Sitole is promoting 4 members per month.

Similarly, in the 27 months of her tenure, former NPC Riah Phiyega promoted 2 members per month while Khomotso Phahlane promoted 4 individuals per month during his 19-month stint. Even worse, former NPC Lesetja Mothiba promoted more than 5 people per month during his 5-month tenure.

It is also still unclear why Sitole has promoted these members as there have been no compelling reasons provided for the expedited appointments. Specifically, Sitole has not provided reasons why each appointment had “exceptional circumstances that warrant the deviation from the said subregulation”.

This raises questions as to the fitness of these individuals, because their merit has not been tested nor can such fitness-for-purpose be demonstrated objectively in the absence of a competitive selection process, and the public deserves to know if these members have qualifications and requisite experience in order to promote the fight against the unacceptably high levels of crime in this country.

The SAPS leadership is besieged with crises, resulting in chronic underfunding which has resulted in the failure to ensure the police service carries out its mandate of keeping South Africans safe in their communities. These deviated appointments under Regulation 45 can only exacerbate the problem and are a huge organisational risk for enabling cronyism and undermining meritocracy in the police service.

The potential flagrant abuse of funds involved in such appointments could be channelled to the Detective Services, the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Units and Crime Intelligence, among others.

Minister Cele must prove that he has what it takes to root out cronyism and mismanagement in the SAPS and that he will take effective action to address the numerous issues hampering the police’s ability to ensure safe streets and safe homes for all South Africans.

Statement issued by Zakhele Mbhele MP, DA Shadow Minister of Police, 6 May 2018