Dereliction of duty by police under Cele's watch

What we see playing out at Nkandla is a disgrace, as large crowds of dissenters instigated by those close to Zuma gathered, some armed with lethal weapons, threatening the peace and well-being of society and the security of persons, says the writer.
What we see playing out at Nkandla is a disgrace, as large crowds of dissenters instigated by those close to Zuma gathered, some armed with lethal weapons, threatening the peace and well-being of society and the security of persons, says the writer.
Image: Sandile Ndlovu

Section 205 of the constitution describes the principles upon which the police service ought to operate as a way of protecting the country's citizens. At Nkandla, where former president Jacob Zuma's followers gathered in their numbers on Sunday, and days preceding it, there had been virtually no police presence.

Endangered communities have been on their own. I wonder what police minister Bheki Cele might be thinking about this obvious dereliction of duty? Under Cele's watch, citizens find themselves vulnerable to real threats of violence as a result of crowds descending on Nkandla supposedly to defend Zuma against the judiciary that last week imposed a 15-month jail imprisonment for contempt of court.

Part of the police's responsibility is "to prevent, combat and investigate crime, to maintain public order, to protect and secure the inhabitants of the Republic and their property, and to uphold and enforce the law".

What we see playing out at Nkandla is a disgrace, as large crowds of dissenters instigated by those close to Zuma gathered, some armed with lethal weapons, threatening the peace and well-being of society and the security of persons.

Have Cele and police commissioner Khehla Sitole chosen to wring their hands, and do nothing about those who break the law in "Zuma's kingdom?" Could these officials be prompted by political consideration, and not by what the constitution demands of them?

Also, one has to wonder what quality of legal service is being offered to Zuma by his legal advisers, some of whom pride themselves as silks? Surely, we expect better from senior counsel who are by definition officers of the court. They just have no right to pursue a political agenda. They ought to be fit and proper to practise law, and leave politics to the Zumas of this world.

Jo-Mangaliso Mdhlela, Ekurhuleni

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