Mbalula ‘could be good for police’

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Mbalula ‘could be good for police’

Jan Bornman | 2017-03-31 11:16:03.0

South African Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula addresses a media conference in Cape Town

New Minister of Police Fikile Mbalula

Image by: MIKE HUTCHINGS
/

REUTERS

Police unions and security experts are optimistic about the appointment of Fikile Mbalula as Police Minister.

This despite Mbalula having once urged citizens to “shoot the bastards”‚ in reference to criminals.

Mbalula previously served as deputy police minister under Nathi Mthethwa and‚ after spending a few years in the sports ministry‚ now replaces Nathi Nhleko at the helm of the police ministry.

Following the announcement‚ the incoming police minister tweeted:

Mbalula is not one to hold back and often gets into battles on Twitter. He once referred to Bafana Bafana as a “bunch of losers”.

Gareth Newham‚ head of governance‚ crime and justice at the Institute for Security Studies‚ said: “We certainly hope that the new minister carefully considers the kinds of statements he makes. It is difficult to say what kind of a policeman he’ll make‚ but it is a very different environment. We’re talking about policing‚ which deals with human rights and the law‚ compared to say the ministry of sport.

“So we do really require somebody who’s got a level head [and] takes time to fully understand how policing works‚” he said.

Newham said it was crucial that Mbalula took the time to understand how policing works and made sure the police worked within the framework of the law.

In 2009‚ Mbalula famously said: “Shoot the bastards‚ not indiscriminately‚ but in defence of the innocent against gun-toting criminals.”

Despite a list of controversial statements and a reputation for his love of social media‚ both the South African Policing Union (Sapu) and the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) said they were behind Mbalula‚ believing he was capable of doing the job.

“I am not going to take anything away from him. He was once the deputy minister of police. I hope he understands exactly what are the challenges this department brings to him. He has got a lot of challenges in front of him. He already has an idea of what kind of an animal policing is‚” said Mpho Kwinika‚ president of Sapu.

“He has got to make sure that the decisions by his predecessor‚ Nhleko‚ to appeal the decision of the court on the fitness of [Hawks head] General Berning Ntlemeza to hold office‚ he has to make sure that is set aside because that is not in the interests of the public‚” Kwinika said.

“He has got a responsibility to make sure that the national police commissioner is allowed to do his job without any political interference‚” he said.

Spokesperson for Popcru Richard Mamabolo said the union hoped Mbalula would “hit the ground running”.

“We more than welcome his appointment. Obviously the police have had some problems with the previous minister and the current national commissioner‚ so we hope that Minister Mbalula would hit the ground running‚” he said.



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