The DA notes the appointment of Lieutenant General Kehla John Sithole and, while we welcome that the South African Police Service (SAPS) finally has stable leadership in the form of a permanent National Police Commissioner (NPC), we do not believe that General Sithole is the best candidate to turn the SAPS around into a professional and effective police service to tackle and reduce crime.
The DA will therefore submit Parliamentary Questions to President Zuma in order for him to reveal the names of the other shortlisted candidates and their qualifications so that we can ascertain whether the best possible candidate was appointed.
While we acknowledge that General Sithole is an improvement from his predecessor because he is an experienced and senior career officer, we are not convinced that he has the backbone to resist political pressure on the SAPS because it was during his tenure as Divisional Commissioner of Protection and Security Services that the former AU Chairperson, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, was granted use of the Presidential Protection Service without merit or grounds.
Thus we are concerned that he is not the best candidate to “firewall” SAPS from political interference and if the President says ‘jump’, he will say ‘how high’.
We are also disappointed that rather than following a transparent and credible appointment process in line with the recommendations of the National Development Plan, the President has sprung this decision on us.
South Africans need confidence in their National Commissioner that it will be someone who puts their safety first to fight crime and not someone who bends to the will of their political masters to use policing resources for the convenience of the elite.