Posted on July 30, 2021

South Africa’s Tottering Security Services

TLU SA, July 2021

Television’s extensive coverage of South Africa’s violence and looting spree that exploded before an incredulous world over the past few weeks has been a turning point for the African National Congress (ANC): its gilded image of idealistic revolutionaries on a high moral ground bravely fighting a wicked racist system took something of a beating as hordes of its followers trampled our country into the ground in the rush to grab something – anything – because it was there! Worse, what they did for the most part went unhindered. The real fly in the ointment was that nobody stopped them. Where was South Africa’s  police force?  The plunder morphed into a free for all that left South Africa limping and wounded, with its back to the wall. Had it not been for a citizenry which was able to think on its feet and rush to save what was salvageable, the two provinces where the damage was palpable – KZ/Natal and Gauteng –  would have indeed looked like the wasteland which the late Chris Hani promised us would be the result if he and his ANC party didn’t get their way.

Our security services were, in the main, not visibly countering the thieving and destruction. Some individual police officers did what they could but there was no backup. It appeared that crowd control, a basic tool to at least hold off rioting mobs, was off for the day. Where were the teargas and the water cannons?

Who was responsible for this huge hole in South Africa’s security net, our thin blue line between order and anarchy? It was clear we were desperately short of police boots on the ground. They simply gave up as they stood behind a few barricades and palladium fences helplessly watching the crowds walk off with whatever they could get their hands on. In addition police vehicles were noticeably thin on the tarmac. Fingers naturally pointed at the Minister of Police Bheke Cele who was appointed twice to the post by president Cyril Ramaphosa.


Once again we are faced with the results of our government not even thinking of axing those responsible for the collapse of a vital sector of our country’s administration – security and safety. It may happen now that the dust has settled. It is a moot point. The ANC’s policy of cadre deployment both in the country’s civil service and within the cabinet continues unchecked. This pernicious practice has seriously hobbled South Africa’s ability to function as the first world country it once was. We are now a third world country with a first world component. It used to be the other way round!

For years TLU SA has pointed out that this policy is perilous, but it is as rigid as steel. President Ramaphosa will under no circumstances disturb this gravy train patronage.  His staying in power is the name of his game, so jobs for pals is sacrosanct, whatever happens to South Africa. As a Venda, he must watch the Zulus with a beady eye. Because of this he continues to speak with a forked tongue regarding improving the country’s service delivery.

He is still parroting the mantra of deploying “qualified people” while having no intention whatsoever of doing so. He pronounces on plans he has no desire to execute. In May 2019 in a pre-election speech in Mitchell’s Plain, Cape Town, he declared it was “wrong that work seekers had to tick their race on employment forms; this practice must be stopped”. (Beeld 4.5.2019)  At that time he also stated that white people should be “tied to trees” because he does not want whites to leave the country. (Business Day 14.6.2019). In 2020 he again stated that “we cannot allow that these widespread government municipal disasters can continue. “ (Beeld 4.12.2020). He was praised for this statement in an editorial in Beeld (7.12.2020) as a “step in the right direction”!  In a further editorial (24.6.21), Beeld reported “it was good that the president declared there was no longer place for rogues in the ANC and for the deployment of cadres on the grounds of popularity rather than merit”.

In January 2021, after a National Executive Committee (NEC) of the ANC, he said there should be “responsibility towards communities and that qualified cadres must be deployed to posts of accountability”. (Beeld 9.1.21)  A few days later, he further declared that “only qualified cadres should be in responsible government positions in order to create good governance.” He decried “weak governance in municipalities where the ANC is in control, with a lack of skills in financial sectors. This must be tackled”. (Beeld 11.1.21)

Faced with the incompetence and lack of control by, particularly, the police during the heat of the recent riots, Ramaphosa again stated he wanted to “overhaul the ANC’s mayoral selection process by choosing leaders with post-matric skills”. And at a recent NEC meeting he told his party of his plans “to turn around ailing municipalities”. (Sunday Times 25.7.21).

These are empty words!  Every job advertisement for government and municipal posts specifies that the advertiser subscribes to the government’s Employment Equity Plan. This means no whites can apply. And as long as the president continues along this road, the country will never work. It is president Ramaphosa’s personal political future that determines what he does and what he doesn’t do. Like most African presidents he really doesn’t care whether the roads turn to dust, as long as he remains in power. If he did care, he would have hired on merit years ago. It’s as simple as that. After 27 years in power, we all know the ANC as a government is hopeless. They are a destructive force, but the president will not change the status quo, whatever he preaches.


The president needs the support of the Zulus to remain in power. Minister of Police Bheke Cele is a Zulu, with powerful backing in KZ/Natal.  He has always been a supporter of Jacob Zuma. This is perhaps why he was appointed to this ministry by the president, and then reappointed a few years later, despite his massive ineptitude and his previous suspension for alleged corruption .Who then is Mr. Cele, our top cop?

Bheke Cele was born in Umzumbe, Kwa Zulu/Natal in 1952. He progressed through the ANC to be appointed as National Commissioner of the SA Police Service from July 2009 to October 2011.  He holds a diploma in education. He was suspended from duty in October 2011due to allegations of corruption. In February 2011 a Board of Enquiry under the chairmanship of Adv. Thuli Madonsela was mandated to establish whether he acted dishonestly or with an undisclosed conflict of interest regarding property deals signed by one Roux Shabangu (a friend of Jacob Zuma) in Durban and Pretoria. These deals included property to be leased and/or purchased for the SA Police Service.

The board declared that Cele was “unfit for office” and it recommended his removal from office.  Madonsela declared that he had breached the Constitution, the Public Finance Management Act, Treasury regulations and supply chain management rules and policies. Cele was the accounting officer of the SA Police Service at the time so he was au fait with police finances. He was declared guilty of improper conduct and maladministration. The then president Jacob Zuma dismissed him in June 2012.

He was quietly transferred to the post of Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry from May 2014 to February 2018. (It is common practice within the ANC to “look after their own”). Despite his ignominious record, President Ramaphosa appointed him Minister of Police on 27 February 2018 and he was reappointed by the president to the same position on 30 May 2019. Cele is said to be worth $2 million (R15 million) by Forbes magazine.  Some of his more colourful pronouncements have made headlines: he declared he wanted the law to be changed to allow police to “shoot to kill” criminals without worrying about “what happens after that”.   (Speaking to the Weekend Argus and reported by IOL News 1/8/2009)

What has happened to the once effective and well-trained South African Police Force under Cele’s watch?

+ In November 2020, the parliamentary portfolio committee for police declared that the SA Police Service was in such a crisis that it was impossible for it to effectively treat crime in SA. The chairman of the committee Ms. Tina Joemat-Pettersson revealed that for the fourth year in a row, the SAPS could only obtain a qualified audit. In 2019/20 an amount of R R452 million was expended illegally with no records supplied..  Both the minister and Police Commissioner Sithole were hauled over the coals for their “weak” training processes. Amidst other complaints of weak administration, it was reported that an important toxicology report had still not been completed since its commencement ten years ago.

+ In January 2021, SAPS parliamentary portfolio chairman Pettersson told Rapport newspaper (10.1.21) that R3.4billion of the Police Services budget was allocated to the protection of around 450 VIP’s (politicians and others) but only R1,38 billion had been set aside for police forensics. The VIP protection unit’s budget had grown 224% over the past ten years. This unit uses 3376 policemen to protect 137 VIP houses, while 1998 police officials are used as bodyguards to protect around 450 VIP’s.

+  A weapons amnesty indemnity for the submission of illegal weapons (with no criminal charge laid) was proposed in September 2019. This amnesty would last from October 2019 to 31 March 2020. At the same time, 450 000 citizen firearm licences were not renewed by the police, while only 23,399 firearms had been handed in to the police up to an extended 31 January 2021 deadline. Many South Africans of all races possess illegal weapons, and are afraid to give them up because of what has been perceived as an obsession by the police to disarm particularly the white population. Millions of AK 47’s from the Mozambique war of independence in the mid seventies ended up in the hands of criminal elements in SA townships. They are devastating in urban warfare because SA citizens are not allowed to possess an automatic weapon. AK 47’s could be bought for R100. But Gun Free South Africa stated that 8007 weapons handed in to the police by the public under the amnesty offer had been stolen. It is a constant fear by the citizenry that weapons collected by the police are never secure and many thefts have been reported from police weapons’ stores.

+  On March 21, 2021 a newspaper report (Rapport 21.3.21) stated that SAPS detectives were buying their own flashlight batteries, repairing police vehicles, and purchasing car tyres at their own cost. In addition they complained to farmers that if their police cars break down, they cannot do their duty to help them. These repairs were then paid for by the farmers. In addition, more than 5 000 police vehicles throughout the country are broken. In KwaZulu alone, there are 2707 parked in garages. (No wonder vehicles were thin on the ground during the recent riots.).

+ Detectives complain bitterly about the SA Police Service’s logistical problems. There are eight million pieces of evidence that have been “lost” on computer records due to a dispute about payment with a computer company that supplied the program to the SAPS. Finger printing powder, chemicals and cameras and even uniforms must be paid for by the police themselves. These uniforms are privately made so anyone can buy them!

+ The increase in break-ins and burglaries at police stations throughout the country has resulted in 136 break-ins in 29 police stations in the last five years. (Beeld 19.5.21) According to police, the reason for this is mainly to steal criminal police dockets!  Police stations are thus forced to use private security companies to guard their own buildings!

+ The SAPS has paid more than R140 million in damages to citizens for the first five months of 2021. More than 1 000 demands for damage compensation were heard by the courts during that time.

+ Firearm legislation regarding the control of licensed firearms in South Africa was introduced nearly five years ago and the implications of this legislation are still being publicly discussed. Minister Cele was heard to remark that he “vowed to disarm legally armed SA gun owners.” (Citizen 1.4.2019.) Clearly the government doesn’t want an armed citizenry, for various reasons. But those who were armed saved the day during the recent Durban riots!

+ The situation with DNA testing at the National Forensics Laboratory reveals there are 208,291 cases awaiting processing . Even with everything in place now, to correct this backlog will take 18 months, not counting new cases that come in every month. Detectives cannot complete cases for presentation to court so cases are postponed sometimes five or six times because of this backlog.

+ Nine months after a young farmer Brendin Horner (22) was gruesomely bludgeoned to death and his body tied to a tree, the police investigation unit the Hawks have revealed that police may have been involved with a stock theft syndicate which purportedly murdered Horner when he came upon them stealing cattle. Farmers in the area said that five months before the murder they had prepared a dossier stating which police were involved in the stock theft syndicate. This report by the farmers was provided to Police Minister Bheke Cele but no attention was paid to it. The farmers had no response.

+  Police helicopters are used ii many cases where cash-in-transit heists and stock thefts occur, to trace vehicles and stolen cattle. However Eastern Cape police have advised victims of these criminal activities that the four helicopters at their disposal are grounded. One is two years in the hangar and another has been grounded for more than 18 months. Meanwhile helicopter pilots with the rank of colonel earn R70 000 to R80 000 per month plus a grant of R31 500. These pilots sit around waiting for the helicopters to be repaired. Stock theft and animal poaching in the area has cost local farmers over the last book year period more than R260 million.

+ Last but not least, more than half of police blitz patrol cars in Gauteng province cannot be used because they are ”out of order”. Of the province’s 231 vehicles, 124 are rusting in garages, this during the recent riots, the worst SA has ever endured.

Clearly TLUSA president Henry Geldenhuys’ call for Cele to be dismissed is on the nail. TLU SA has organised a campaign to have Cele removed from office. Those who wish to support this move can log on to