Top jobs for Presidentís VIP cops must be included in SAPS probe
Dianne Kohler Barnard, Shadow Minister of Police
26 March 2012
Questionable promotions in the South African Police Service (SAPS) made headlines again with the City Press reporting yesterday that six of President Jacob Zuma’s VIP bodyguards have been “irregularly” promoted to the top ranks of the police, with two of them jumping six ranks.
I will today be writing to the Public Protector, Adv. Thuli Madonsela, asking that the investigation into irregular promotions within the South African Police Service (SAPS) requested by the Democratic Alliance (DA) last year be extended to include the promotions of the President’s VIP guards.
According to the City Press the promotions by acting police boss Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi happened without the posts being announced within the unit, and no interviews were conducted.
It is also pointed out that all eight of the promoted members had been assigned to protect President Zuma since 2005, fuelling speculation that the promotions were a reward for loyalty to him.
The SAPS guidelines clearly state that “levels and ranks cannot be skipped” and personnel “have to apply and compete with their peers for advertised posts”.
The promotion of President Zuma’s VIP guards appears to be a significant departure from the police’s guidelines, which only makes provision for the national commissioner to override the policy guidelines in very special circumstances.
The continued irregular promotions within the SAPS due to alleged cronyism and political considerations are undermining the police service in South Africa. I believe these decisions should be based on the experience and expertise of SAPS members. Irregular and unfair promotion procedures constitute an abuse of power and are a sign of poor management. This poor management of human capital in the SAPS affects all South Africans as their police service is left ill equipped to protect the population and fight crime.
It is imperative that the Public Protector extend the investigation by her office to include these recent highly questionable and irregular promotions. The continued leap-frogging of ranks not only causes frustration and unhappiness among police members, but also severely impacts on the public perception of the capacity and effectiveness of those men and women tasked with protecting the country and its citizens.