SAPS: The ANC’s “Iron Fist” with Ian Cameron

The South African Police Service (SAPS) in certain parts is becoming an “iron fist” for the African National Congress (ANC). Crime fighter Ian Cameron of Action Society speaks to BizNews about the latest abuses of power and lack of accountability in SAPS. He describes how Police Minister Bheki Cele was escorted by six Flying Squad vehicles, three Public Order Policing (POP) vehicles and three mini buses from TRT to an ANC meeting on the Cape Flats. “…is the South African Police Service now a private security service for the ANC?”  Cameron is fuming that eight “Blue Light Mafia” members who publicly assaulted civilians are back at work after their suspensions lapsed. He points out that the Presidential Protection Unit reports to Wally Rhoode who mainly reports directly to the President Cyril Ramaphosa. “So it’s basically this little private security force that they’ve built on the side with police power that benefits a certain group of politicians.” Cameron also speaks about the submission Action Society made to Parliament today (Tuesday 25 October) on the new IPID bill that would give the Minister of Police “a complete monopoly on law enforcement in South Africa”. – Chris Steyn

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Relevant timestamps from the interview

  • 00:00 – Introduction
  • 00:32 – Bheki Cele’s security detail at the ANC meeting in the Cape flats
  • 02:33 – The latest on the blue light mafia members publicly assaulting civilians
  • 05:23 – What happened in Parliament this morning
  • 08:26 – Conclusions

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Highlights from the interview

The South African Police Service (SAPS) in certain parts is becoming an “iron fist” for the African National Congress (ANC).

That is according to crime fighter Ian Cameron of Action Society who speaks to BizNews about the latest abuses of power and lack of accountability in SAPS.

Her describes how Police Minister Bheki Cele was escorted by six Flying Squad vehicles, three Public Order Policing (POP) vehicles and three mini buses from TRT to an ANC meeting in Philippi on the Cape Flats a few nights ago where he was attending an ANC meeting.

“…let’s say for a moment it was two members per vehicle, that’s 24 police members to look after one minister – and the cherry on top is that it’s not even for Police Minister business. So you know the question we must ask is the South African Police Service now a private security service for the ANC?”

Cameron is also fuming that eight “Blue Light Mafia” members who publicly assaulted civilians are back at work after their suspensions were allowed to lapse.

“…on the very same day (their suspensions lapsed) another Blue Light accident, a fatal one at that…close to Kempton Park, where a motorcyclist was killed…So these incidents aren’t decreasing, there’s no form of accountability.”

Cameron points out at the Presidential Protection Unit reports to Wally Rhoode who “mainly reports directly to the President (Cyril Ramaphosa)”. 

“Now we all know the controversies not only from our beloved president, but also from Wally Rhoode. So it’s basically this little private security force that they’ve built on the side with police power that benefits a certain group of politicians. 

“Those cops must be held to a higher standard. But instead South African Police Service in certain parts is becoming an iron fist for the ANC and it’s not doing what it’s meant to do and while those political cops do what they do, the good ones are suffering and are being deployed in places that’s too dangerous or they have to also look after politicians while normal South Africans suffer.”

Cameron also speaks about the two submissions Action Society made to Parliament today (Tuesday 25 October), one regarding a new bill about the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID), and the other around the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

“Now, the one around IPID is, unfortunately, also not great news. The bill proposes that more power or control be given to the office of the Police Minister, which means that IPID would report to the Police Minister, which in effect means that it’s no longer an independent body…It basically means that the Minister of Police will have a complete monopoly on law enforcement in South Africa, law enforcement in terms of SAPS. 

“So we obviously oppose that. We’ve suggested that it become a Chapter Nine institution to not only protect its independence, but also to see that it’s got a very, very strong mandate to act…I must say, it was mostly agreed. Our stance on the matter seemed to be in line with what everyone else also submitted. So I think we’re on the right track.”

In terms of the NPA, it was about having more of a decentralised model, “quite similar in terms of us trying to say that it must have independence”. 

“That was ironic because every time we mentioned independence, members of the ANC and those portfolio committees would say, what do you mean by independence? And the answer is simple, it’s political interference from the very ANC that they belong to.”

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