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Corruption Watch and the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) have established a joint public awareness campaign that focuses on the process resulting in the upcoming appointments of the South African Police Service (SAPS) national commissioner and the head of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations (the Hawks). We believe that both critical appointments require a transparent selection process against clear merit-based criteria as recommended in the National Development Plan adopted by the Cabinet in 2012.

Gareth Newham, head of the ISS’s Justice and Violence Prevention Programme, recently spoke to Cape Talk’s Gugu Mhlungu about the campaign. “The way that these posts have been filled is that there have been secret meetings between the president and some of his close advisors and South Africans have woken up to find a new national commissioner of police.”

Since Jackie Selebi’s appointment in 2000, none of the appointees have had any police experience, Newham said, and this has been disastrous for the quality of policing in the country. The decline is not because the police have no resources or dedicated, experienced officers, but rather because top management has failed and this has had a negative effect on the levels below. The people at the top have no idea what they’re doing and their incompetence causes destabilisation, Newham said.

Listen below to the podcast, which eloquently explains the rationale behind and the necessity for the CW/ISS campaign.