OPEN LETTER

To the government, President Cyril Ramaphosa and Parliament: Give us an SAPS we deserve

By Father Michael Weeder 9 June 2021

(Photo: Gallo Images / Roger Sedres)

The persecution of committed and reputable police leaders has direct implications for the safety of especially poor communities, where crime and violence have reached pandemic proportions. The beneficiaries of the absence of these persons from the fight for justice and against crime are the country’s gang lords and their allies in SAPS, the Judases in our ranks who sell their souls and betray their fellow officers for bloodstained pieces of silver.

Michael Weeder is Dean of St George’s Cathedral, Cape Town

Dear Mr President and Madam Speaker 

Events concerning the South African Police Service (SAPS) compels the writing of this letter. It is one which I hope expresses the desire of the majority of our fellow South Africans to live lives where their safety and that of their loved ones, especially the children, are reasonably assured. 

On a daily basis, we witness the sullying of the constitutional integrity of our republic. This is done by the very men and women who today stand accused and judged by the laws they are meant to uphold. 

Our call is for a police service South Africans deserve. Over the last decade, we have witnessed a culture of unbridled authoritarianism. It is evident in the systematic hounding out of the service of dedicated and committed police officials. 

The most recent example is that of the firing from the force of Major-General Jeremy Vearey. Let us not be deceived into concluding that this is part of an anti-coloured purge. 

In the dark hearts and minds of some, this may indeed be the bitter poison that fuels their actions. Instead, it is a red herring that potentially serves to draw our focus away from the fact that many of the victimised officers have been lifelong combatants in the fight for justice and against crime. 

The beneficiaries of the absence of these persons from the fray are the country’s gang lords and their allies in SAPS, the Judases in our ranks who sell their souls and betray their fellow officers for bloodstained pieces of silver. 

The persecution of committed and reputable police leaders has direct implications for the safety of especially poor communities, where crime and violence have reached pandemic proportions. Too frequently we witness the abuse of the victims of crime, often children and women, by ill-disciplined, loutish and uncaring police officers who seldom face the consequences of their actions.

For these reasons we call upon you, Mr President and Madam Speaker, to initiate a public process of inquiry into policing. Its end purpose being a professional police leadership in line with the prescripts of the Constitution and our democracy and with the recommendations of the National Development Plan 2030, regarding policing in South Africa.

We also seek the reinstatement of Jeremy Vearey and that the malicious prosecution against him and others be overturned. 

The current form of political and criminal-biased policing must be expeditiously stopped otherwise the malaise of the police service and its increasing lack of legitimacy will continue. 

The persecution of former members of MK in the police service exposes a pattern of abusive power by many in leadership and suggests they have yet to fully embrace the values of our Constitution. 

It is with tender recall that we submit that this letter and its call is part of the ongoing response to your “Thuma mina” appeal to your beloved and our fellow South Africans. 

We stand alongside you as did those who accompanied Moses at the Battle of Rephidim, to hold aloft with you, our brother and president, the tattered flag of our freedom.

Yours in the shared commitment to justice. DM

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  • Agree totally,firstly,independent boards in each province to hear any complaints regarding police members.A trusted member of the legal dept. of SAPS told me directly that if a civil claim is lost where a non commissioned officer(cst,Sgt,warrant officer ) is involved, the money gets subtracted from his pay monthly and from his pension.If it is a commissioned officer who loses the civil claim the state pays and nothing gets taken from him.This is shocking.I was in the police myself.I have no reason to not believe this officer of the legal dept.Ipid must be given more powers and manpower.More effort must be given in tackling organized crime and international and local syndicates.Drug addicts that are caught ,must be sentenced to out patient rehab courses. The police are catching the guppies and leaving the sharks.Gender based violence must be monitored continously.Police hide beside statistics.A system must be put in place where vehicles licenses are always up to date, so that no unroadworthty vehicle is on the road.Stringent criteria must be applied at police traing colleges so that the cop that starts at a station is qualified and hasn’t been soft pedaled.Station commanders must be monitored for keeping things in line.The over use of meetings must stop.Management meetings must be budgeted ,not at fancy hotels,etc.There is so many areas where the police must become modernized.. The forensic dept . must always have enough equipment and this must be monitored

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