The SAPS leadership woes take place in a country inundated with violent crime and almost daily protest action, which is often violent. The recently released crime statistics for the first three quarters of the 2016/2017 year reveal unacceptably high crime levels. The Statistics South Africa (StatsSA) Victims of Crime Survey further reports a reduction in the number of people reporting crime to the SAPS, revealing the loss of faith in public institutions that has come to reflect the relationship between the nation and its citizens.

It must be said that the appointments of many of the heads of public institutions – including the SAPS and the NPA – are made by the President. This is the same President who finds himself tainted, with pending corruption charges dating back to 2004, and most recently, featuring prominently in the State of Capture Report released by the Office of the Public Protector in late 2016. The general leadership malaise creeping across public institutions is no doubt fueled by the ultimate lack of political leadership, leaving the nation sailing rudderless and weary, with ratings agencies, international investors and importantly, a voting public, watching in earnest. 

By Ms Phephelaphi Dube, Director: Centre for Constitutional Rights