Confidence in police is eroding, says Buthelezi
"THERE'S an eroding confidence in the contemporary force, due in part to corruption and the frequent reluctance of police to act on crime reports or visit crime scenes."
This is the view of IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi.
Writing in his weekly online column, Buthelezi said that for the country to win the fight against crime there's a need for a police force that is "non-aligned and that takes policing decisions that protect people's rights under the Constitution".
He said such a police service must also have better resources.
He said the crime statistics published last week underlines the truth of the dictum "lies, damned lies, and statistics".
Some figures released showed that house robberies were up 27percent for the year ending in March, business robberies up 41percent, while sex crimes were up 10,1percent and carjacking up 5percent.
"A large part of the problem is that as the apartheid-era police force was feared and distrusted, now surveys indicate eroding confidence in the contemporary force due in part to corruption and the frequent reluctance of police to act on crime reports or visit crime scenes," he said.
Buthelezi said though he likes President Jacob Zuma's straight-talking, it, however, does sometimes evoke President Bush's cowboy rhetoric: "We're going to smoke them out. 'Is it compelling and popular? Yes. Is it sensible? No.'"
He said Zuma's support to police station commanders last week to shoot to kill is dangerous.
"Until legislation is changed with watertight safeguards, such direction from Zuma could land police officers in hot water," he said.
Buthelezi said as the IFP, they recognise that more police powers, while intrinsically is a good thing, creates more room for corrupt practices.
"Therefore it is imperative that a culture of discipline be inculcated in our police force.
"Particularly where illegal firearms are so easily available, there is a danger that guns may be planted on suspects," he said.