In July 2017, Corruption Watch and the Institute for Security Studies launched a joint public awareness campaign that focuses on the appointments of the SAPS national commissioner and the head of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations (the Hawks). The organisations believe that both appointments require a transparent selection process against clear merit-based criteria as recommended in the National Development Plan (NDP). Implementing these recommendations would serve two important functions:

  • Both the public and police officials would be better apprised of the abilities and characteristics that the new appointee would bring to the job. An appropriately experienced appointee whose integrity was beyond reproach would therefore enjoy an enhanced level of support from both the public and the police and would more effectively drive plans aimed at improving the performance of the organisation that they are tasked with leading.
  • Proper screening and vetting would ensure that the individual selected is less likely to become embroiled in scandals that may emerge after their appointment, thereby resulting in distraction and discord at a senior leadership level.

Campaign objectives

  1. Awareness – our public awareness campaign will highlight the role of the SAPS national commissioner and the head of the Hawks, their functions and responsibilities, and the desired process of appointing individuals to these key institutions.
  2. Public engagement and participation – we will develop avenues for public engagement by surveying the public and police officials as to the values and qualities they would like to see in the persons appointed to lead the two institutions.
  3. Enhance transparency – we will campaign to ensure that a transparent and competitive process, as envisaged in the NDP is implemented.

The impact of poor leadership appointments on the performance of the police is depicted in the figure below:

Decreasing trends in the performance of the SAPS and the Hawks – despite a bigger budget.