Commissioner’s resignation not newsworthy

News about the resignation of South Africa’s Deputy National Police Commissioner,

Former Police Deputy Commissioner, Tim Williams.

Former Police Deputy Commissioner, Tim Williams.

Tim Williams, is a cause for concern. Newly appointed flamboyant Police Commissioner, Bheki Cele’s Spokesperson, Nonkululeko Mbatha, said she didn’t know why Williams resigned.

Williams tendered his resignation on the 15th September at the National Press Club in Pretoria but strange enough the story wasn’t in the news at all on all the SABC’s radio and television news channels. This prominent resignation coincided with the Police top brass’s media conference at which they rattled the sabre.

Why did William’s resign?

It could be that Williams doesn’t think that sabre-rattling is a substitute for good policing and/or he is unhappy for being passed over for promotion, and be made a subordinate of a person Cosmas Desmond described as an ‘egoistical imbecile’, when he has been national police commissioner for almost a decade.

There is also going to be an amendment of the law to give police officers the right to kill with, almost, impunity. If the police can’t, through intelligence gathering and community involvement, pre-empt the commission of crime, that is, be proactive, then the “shoot to kill” policy is reactive and it’s going to be a damp  squib.

There will be many unintended victims of this sanguinary policy. Others, of course, will be intended victims. In fact, policies such as “shoot to kill” are not meant for criminals, instead they are meant for political rivals and foes.

Whither judicial independence

Moreover, in recent months we have witnessed a series of interference in the judiciary. The judiciary has been rendered impotent. Justice and Constitutional Development Minister Jeff Radebe’s actions are compromising judicial power and independence to a point where it will become difficult to check usurpation of power by the executive.

It is a fact that constitutionalism and the rule of law depend upon the independence of the judiciary. The declaration that even the highest government officials are subject to judicial correction when they violate a legal obligation is a bulwark of the principle of equality.

By Sam Ditshego

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