On the eve of the commemoration of the Marikana massacre, Corruption Watch (CW) and the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) have launched a survey encouraging the public to voice their opinions about the skills and attributes they would like to see in the South African Police Service (SAPS) national commissioner and the head of the Hawks.

Both of these critical posts are vacant after the previous incumbents were forced out of office under considerable clouds.

This public opinion will be fed into the selection process for these two appointments still to be made by the president and minister of police respectively, as part of the organisations’ joint awareness campaign focusing on police leadership.

At the heart of the massacre that took place in Marikana five years ago was incompetent and politicised police leadership. Inept and inappropriate leadership has long characterised both the SAPS and the Hawks. This joint campaign aims to turn the tide on this trend by raising awareness about the roles, function and responsibilities of the SAPS national commissioner and the head of the Hawks, encouraging public participation and enhancing transparency in the appointment processes.

Only police leadership of integrity and competence will avert a repeat of the brutality that characterised the Marikana massacre. The survey will help to develop an ideal persona for these two crucial positions by soliciting public feedback on the criteria for selection of candidates, relevant experience, qualifications and values appropriate for the positions.

As part of the commemoration of Marikana, CW will join with the Right2Know Campaign to host a screening of the documentary Strike a Rock, directed by Anita Khanna, which follows the story of Sikhala Sonke, the women’s organisation that was formed in Marikana following the tragic event. A short discussion about the effects of police brutality will follow the screening.

Event details:

Date:     Tuesday, 15 August, 17h30 for 18h00
Venue: 2nd Floor, Heerengracht Building, 87 De Korte Street, Braamfontein
RSVP:    Carina Conradie on 071 571 4470 or carina.r2k@gmail.com / Kavisha Pillay on 078 490 5540 or kavishap@corruptionwatch.org.za

In partnership with GunFree South Africa, CW and ISS have published a briefing on firearms control that unpacks a key lesson that emerged from the Marikana massacre: if the SAPS national commissioner had the necessary skills, knowledge and experience, Marikana would never have happened. The briefing also highlights the Marikana Commission of Enquiry’s explicit recommendation that the use of automatic fire in crowd management situations is untenable due to it not being aligned with South Africa’s Constitution.

For media queries, contact:

Phemelo Khaas:                phemelok@corruptionwatch.org.za           083 763 3472
Richard Perry                     rperry@issafrica.org                                       082 853 0232
Amelia Broodryk              abroodryk@issafrica.org                                082 855 5407

• Image from Wikipedia