Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega needs to step down so that irregular conduct can be investigated

At one point I used to argue that it was necessary for a police chief to be a person who was close to the head of state, enjoying confidence needed to ensure stability after the violent background to our democratic breakthrough. I thought that made sense, given that many opponents of the ANC led government still had access as they still do to arms and dynamite.  It has, however, become clear, over some time that the SAPS while including many people who may pursue policing in a professional manner, is also infested with corrupt and violent individuals.  And it is the leadership, including the President (and the previous president Thabo Mbeki, who shielded Jackie Selebi) and Ministers of Police who can be held responsible for much that has happened and for many of the most serious irregularities and acts of violence.  The present commissioner has appeared out of her depth. But this report indicates that even if that is so, she has acted irregularly and may have attempted to defeat the ends of justice.  While it is a long shot to call for anything like a police service that will act professionally, those who respect the constitution need to demand that Phiyega step down while she is investigated.



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