Asmal: Militarisation of police is 'craziness'

Deputy Police Minister Fikile Mbalula’s idea of militarising the police service is “craziness” and smacks of “low-level political decision-making”, former minister Kader Asmal said in Cape Town on Monday.

“The new administration is referring to the militarization of the police,” Asmal told the Cape Town Press Club.

“I have this former head of the youth league [Mbalula] who aspires to be secretary general of the ANC. Ha, really, I hope I won’t be alive,” he said.

“He said we must militarise the police.
We spent days and days in 1991 to get away from the idea of a militarised police force. Extraordinary.

“This is a kind of craziness all of us have to take into account. It is part of that low-level political decision-making without reference to the Cabinet.”

Mbalula has said he wants the police service transformed into a paramilitary force, with military ranks and discipline.

It has been reported in the media that he has been canvassing African National Congress offices to elect him as the party’s secretary general in 2012.

Asmal said it was remarkable how the current administration’s “political memory” had failed, hinting that it was showing signs of re-establishing apartheid-era security organisations such as the Bureau of State Security (Boss).

“So the police service is wrong. According to the president it must be a police force.

“We have a minister of intelligence now called minister of state security. Shew. Bureau of State Security. Boss it was known as. It is remarkable how political memory totally recedes into the background.”

Asmal said the government would have to change the Constitution to “militarise” the police ranking system.

“If a station commander is made general, what is going to happen to the national commissioner of police?

“He is going to be ‘generalisimo’ or ‘il duce’ or Field Marshall.

“According to the Constitution the president appoints the national commissioner of the police. You have to amend the Constitution and become the laughing stock of the world just to change a name.”—Sapa

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