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July 2022
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The problem with South Africa’s democracy is that it’s not a democracy at all. A recent observer of this country’s “dawn of democracy” and its aftermath declared that the word sounds good, but the relevant substance is missing. (The Democratic Republic of Congo is a good example of where this overworked terminology bears no resemblance to that fractured land’s shenanigans – centralised control, long-term corrupt leaders and militia wars waged in all corners with nary a sign of the country’s security forces.)
In comparing South Africa’s democratic experience with what has recently transpired in Britain, there is little similarity. British PM Boris Johnson has been summarily removed for what would be termed minor infractions in South Africa. British voters have made their voices heard because they can. Members of Johnson’s cabinet and those in the parliamentary benches have taken notice.  They are after all directly elected by the citizenry. What now remains is confirmation from the British Conservative Party’s branches, usually a rubber stamp ritual. Who will replace the PM is still moot, but this person also must be confirmed by the CP’s branches throughout Britain.

The South African version of this Westminster system is something of a travesty. Says a Sunday Times correspondent (17.7.22): “In SA, the electorate is concerned with their party winning elections, not in electing the best people to run the affairs of the country and having the power to hold them to account. MPs are not voted into parliament directly by the electorate. They are deployed by a party.

“This is the reason why South African MP’s can live with state capture, defend its enabler, then cry crocodile tears for the nine wasted years which they blame for the chaos occurring at present, exonerating themselves from any blame.”

(The question could be asked why those who handed over the country to the ANC’s democracy didn’t see this yawning fault line or if they did, they didn’t point it out to a seduced electorate, heads in the clouds over world approbation and a new beginning.)

This sham is the reason why someone like SA Police Service (SAPS) Minister Bheki Cele is still swanning around South Africa holding meetings and press conferences and visiting crime scenes after the fact, while criminals are calling the shots! He is promising to “renew” the police force, yet he outlaws possible candidates who bear skin tattoos!  In a fit of pique, he recently threw out a citizen Ian Cameron who dared to complain to him at a public meeting about the minister’s woeful record in fighting crime.

“Shut up! Shut up!” he cried while burly police bundled Cameron out of the hall. “You were not invited here”. (Since when has one needed to be invited to a public meeting in South Africa?)

A strange phenomenon exists within the ruling ANC party, remarked succinctly upon by Oxford-educated writer R.W. Johnson. “The situation today in SA is much worse than under apartheid. Poverty and inequality have increased, and the population is poorer year after year.” (Beeld 27.6.21) After taking over the country, ANC promises were made which were unrealistic. Grandiose plans were discussed which weren’t thought through.  They were going for “high technology” said one ANC cabinet minister. They wanted control of the steel industry which would flourish in their hands. They were going to create banks “for the people”. They would take over the mining industry. There would be free water and electricity. Free schools were on the cards and millions of jobs would be created!

Clearly, they were planning through an ideological prism. Their collective attention span was not up to scratch. Some were communists who never lived under communism. They didn’t know who they were themselves, and what they could and could not do. Many had never held a job or opened a business.


As time went on and much of the country went south, did they become introspective and realise they were hopeless? Did they take the blame? Had they in effect ever known they could never cope? Did they not realise along the way that those “deployed” by the party in state jobs were useless and even destructive?   

Can’t they see that they have ruined everything, asked Johnson. He declared that our leaders are aware of how South Africa is failing “but they never refer directly to this fact. They will naturally not undermine their own authority (by admitting to their inability to run a successful country), but surely sometimes they must ponder how the current shambles came into being?”

“What happens when they come together with no journalists or others present? Do they discuss the drastic situation in the country? Do they ask themselves what will happen to South Africa if their incompetent and corrupt leadership continues along the current path?”

These psychopathic tendencies of the collective ANC are obvious in their reactions. They are manifest in SAPS Bheki Cele’s behaviour and its corollary, the collapse of the SAPS as a protective force in South Africa. It is someone else’s fault that he and his department cannot cope! In reaction to criticism on how he handled Mr. Cameron, he referred to his humble beginnings and Africa’s endemic poverty. We have heard this all before. Yet scores of other countries have managed to pull themselves out of life’s quicksand, without excuses and blame.


Minister Cele is referred to regularly as untouchable. Despite his failures and the repercussions of these on the whole country, he is not fired. The longer he remains, the worse South Africa’s situation becomes. President Ramaphosa keeps him on because of Cele’s support among the Zulu’s in KwaZulu Natal. The President needs Cele in his tent to remain in power. It’s as simple as that. And therein lies the kernel of the awful truth about South Africa – its government is no different than its compatriots north of the Limpopo River. Again, RW Johnson nailed it: The ANC stuck to the post-colonial African script like glue.


“We live in a crime-ridden and violent society. Violence is part and parcel of SA life. A sense of impunity has consolidated itself and engulfed our society”. (Sunday Times 17.7.22). Recent mass attacks with automatic weapons on bars and shebeens in SA cities saw multiple killings. Minister Cele visited these scenes of carnage accompanied by police VIP’s.  But communities told policemen and the media that SAPS personnel are in cahoots with the criminals. Going through the motions of being concerned and visiting affected areas has become a fine art with Minister Cele, while his department barely functions. We could become a “full blown gangster society”, says the Sunday Times.

The media is not exaggerating.

Under Cele’s watch:

+ During the rampant riots and plundering that took place in KZN in July 2021, the police were not to be seen. Cele blamed his commissioner General Khehla Sithole during a recent Human Rights Commission investigation into the unrest where more than 300 died and billions were lost to the SA economy. So far there have been no reports of arrests in connection with these deaths.

+ Between July and September 2021, South Africa saw nearly 10 000 rapes and over 6 100 murders. 72 762 cases of assault were reported to the police during that period. Given the desultory way crimes are investigated by the police, it can be assumed there were many more of these cases not reported.

+ Minister Cele spent five million Rand of taxpayers’ money on “legal fees” when it became known to him that someone may implicate him at the State Capture Commission of Enquiry.

+ The deployment of ANC cadres and sympathisers in the civil service and particularly within the SAPS is the reason why the SAPS is being destroyed in South Africa. So declared Ian Cameron who was thrown out of the public meeting Cele addressed. This deployment fact is immutable.

+ In a land where crime figures show that daily 67 people are murdered and 153 are raped, Minister Cele has let go of 1300 detectives. This became known when Cele replied to a DA opposition MP’s parliamentary question.

+ The private security industry has grown exponentially in response to the impotence of the SAPS. There is one police officer for every 413 citizens but one security officer for every 100 citizens. In total there are 564 540 employed private security personnel compared with 182 126 police officers.

+  Only 27% of SA’s population trust the SAPS. According to the CSIR’s yearly report, the high level of crime in the country has engendered fear in the populace because of the lack of security provided by the SAPS. There has been a drastic decrease in police trust figures in the Western Cape: the level of confidence dropped from 43% in 2020 to only 22% in 2021.

+ Much of the breakdown of SA’s electricity supply, with continual blackouts crippling industry, can be blamed on the almost complete absence of police protection of Eskom’s infrastructure, especially at sub-stations. In addition, power lines and railway tracks are stolen with impunity.

+ One of the main reasons why the SAPS is ordered by the courts to compensate for police actions against citizenry is the perception among some police that it is their role to pressure and threaten instead of being of service to the public. In the first five months of 2021 the SAPS paid out R140 million for police personnel infractions. In addition, the SAPS paid out R9,4 million for cases settled out of court. In October 2021 there was an outstanding amount of R60 billion claimed against the SAPS which had not yet been settled. Some of the claims include murder, rape, and torture. Other claims include corruption, illegal incarceration of citizens in police cells for days, and threats of torture and rape against innocent civilians whom the police have had in their custody.

+ Police stations are falling apart in parts of the country. One family waited for six hours to report their son’s death in an empty Soweto police station one evening. They went home at 3,00am. The station remained empty all night. 3570 prisoners have escaped from police cells over the past five years. When it gets dark, police in Ga-Rankuwa near Pretoria lock themselves in the station for fear of crime. The station has had no electricity for the past eight months. Generators only work intermittently. Small solar panels balanced against a window charge three small portable lights. The gas heater doesn’t work.

+ Last year it was reported that over the length and breadth of South Africa, SAPS detectives are forced to repair police cars themselves, purchase fingerprint powder, batteries and even their own uniforms from their own pocket. Police personnel work under chaotic circumstances because their seniors refuse to rectify even the basics.  This neglect comes from the top. Reports of this trend are endless.

+ In June 2021, SAPS reported that there was a backlog of 208 291 cases languishing in the forensic labs waiting for forensic testing. A year later, in June 2022, Minister Cele has called for the private sector to assist with what is still a huge backlog. He said the current backlog figure is 208 291! The figures are the same!

In any sane country, a person like Minister Cele would not even breach that country’s worst imaginable nightmare. In South Africa he is head of safety and security. Enough said!