Reaction to the appointment of our new Police Commissioner has, so far, been less than favourable. The SA Policing Union has called it an insult that she has been appointed because she is a civilian, not a policewoman, and therefore has no background in fighting crime. They are forgetting that, for the most part, members of the South African Police Service have no background in fighting crime either.
Bheki Cele also doesn’t seem happy about it and seems to be acting a little bit bitter. Perhaps it’s because of the whole being fired thing. Cheer up, Mr (formerly General) Cele, it’s not like President Jacob Zuma didn’t provide you with the nicest firing ever. If someone were to spend 10 minutes raving about what a great job I’ve done and how awesome I am before saying, rather than “You’re fired”, “I am releasing you from your duties” (which sounds like he’s saying, hey, don’t stress about coming into work tomorrow, go take some time off to go to a day spa), I would probably skip down the road whistling a happy song.
But what no one has had the guts to say out loud yet is that the new Police Commissioner is a woman, appointed to what is traditionally seen as a man’s job. Now, some of my best friends are women, even my girlfriend, but it has to be said that they are different to the rest of us. They do strange, icky things like menstruate and give birth to children. They have feelings. They are inferior at rugby (though, if Banyana Banyana are anything to go by, superior at soccer). And, most alarmingly of all, they have been medically proven to have cooties.
On the plus side, as the old joke goes, “If women ruled the world there would be no war, just a bunch of countries not speaking to each other.” And what is crime but a tiny little war against financial inequality? Maybe a woman is just what we need to tell the criminals what’s what.
She can use feminine methods to deal with crime. For instance, if two people shoot at each other, rather than getting all macho and shooting at them, which would create a shootout (two’s a showdown, three’s a shootout, is, I think the rule) she can make them shake hands and say they’re sorry. She can scold the criminals in a maternal kind of way and send them to their rooms. In South Africa, it has to be remembered that even the most hardened criminals are afraid of their mothers, so maybe a woman in charge of crime is just what we need.
On the other hand, women commit a lot less crime than men. So the real question on everyone’s lips is whether Mangwashi Victoria Phiyega, aka Riah, will be able to fill the large (and stolen) shoes of the truly legendary man, the originator of the “fight-crime-with-crime” technique, of Jackie Selebi.
By comparison, Cele has been a huge disappointment. Sure, he may have been a bit dodgy about the way he hooked up the SAPS’s new digs, but Selebi’s corruption was next level. Did Cele end up in jail? Did he go around to organised crime syndicates, meet crime bosses, forget to arrest them and invite them over for poker night instead? I think not.
If Phiyega is to gain the amount of respect her colleagues had for Selebi, without having to resort to Cele-like tactics such as declaring yourself a general for no apparent reason, she may have to come on strong and commit a major crime in her first week. Whether she’s up to the task remains to be seen.
Meanwhile, if you’re looking for Cele, he’s most probably doing what all fired people do – drowning his sorrows at a bar somewhere. Maybe it’s even the bar where all fired people go, and he’s sitting next to Pitso Mosimane and Julius Malema, ordering Bells rather than his usual single malt, getting dronkverdriet, and wondering where it all went wrong. Maybe he’s even reminiscing about a time when women cooked you dinner instead of taking your job. DM
Bheki Cele’s way with words will be missed. He had some awesome quotes, and sports writer Sbu Mjikeliso posted some of them on Twitter. You can follow him at @Sbu_Fundraiser. We’ve taken the liberty of sprinkling some here for your reading pleasure.
“Stomach in, chest out”
“No more kissing crime”
“You must shoot to kill”
“I said aim for the head, not shoot to kill”
“Gauteng remains the province where 50% of SA’s crime occurs, but I can see KZN is coming closer. It looks like they are jealous”
“One monkey came from London to kill his wife here. He thought we South Africans were stupid. Don’t kill people here.”
“Even if the weapons are legal… you can’t just have them lying all over the show like chickens.”
“If you take an eye from us, we will take an eye from you, If you take a tooth from us, we will take a tooth from you”
“There is no New Testament in South African policing.”
“Tutu thinks he is vice Jesus, he’s been having a too big mouth, he must shut up”
“If I die and somebody puts me with another party, I will rise and ask them to put me back with the ANC, then die again”
“I was removed from the office because I was unfit, she (Phiyega) was put there because she is fit!”
“Since being fired, I have decided to shut up and go home.”