During his State of the Nation address last month, President Cyril Ramaphosa said that he would set things straight in the SA Police Service, especially after it failed to properly handle events around the July riots. We saw him start to make good on that promise this week when he fired national police commissioner General Khehla Sitole after they reached a “mutual agreement”. Sitole’s name has also been mentioned in one of Zondo’s state capture reports. Evidence showed that he was involved in procuring phone tapping devices ahead of the ANC’s 2017 Nasrec conference. He also faces two criminal charges for failing to cooperate in an investigation related to the assassination of anti-gang unit commander, Charl Kinnear.
But Ramaphosa is getting flack for allowing police minister Bheki Cele to keep his job. Cele was also responsible for failing to keep things under control during July’s lootings, which caused enormous damage to our economy and international standing. Sitole and Cele do not see eye to eye and this may have led to poor coordination of policing during that chaos. Ramaphosa is putting his feelers out for a new police commissioner, but the question remains, what happens to Cele? Political analyst Ralph Mathekga said Ramaphosa was playing safe ahead of the ANC conference this year and did not seek to create “ further unhappiness in KwaZulu-Natal, where Cele hails from”. The South African Human Rights Commission found that Cabinet must take full responsibility for the events of July 2021 and this is Ramaphosa’s first stab at doing so.
While we’re talking about accountability, the NPA’s Hermione Cronje scored a win on her last day in office: After months of wrangling, Interpol issued red notices for Atul and Rajesh Gupta. This restricts their travel and paves the way for their eventual extradition to SA to face justice. The net is closing on the masterminds behind the state capture project.
This article appeared as part of The Wrap, 4 March 2022. Sign up to receive our weekly updates.