DA: Police to return to ‘apartheid-era ranks’

The South African Police Service (SAPS) is set to return to “apartheid-era ranks” on April 1, Democratic Alliance (DA) MP Dianne Kohler Barnard said on Thursday.

“The DA has learnt that the SAPS’s return to apartheid-era ranks will be gazetted on April 1, an exercise that the DA considers entirely reprehensible and completely unconnected from attempts to address South Africa crime rate,” Kohler-Barnard said.

“Efforts at militarising the police ranks are attention-diverters.

“Instead of dealing with the real problems at hand, the SAPS is now bothering itself with changes in rank.”

Kohler Barnard said the police should “be doing the hard yards” by building new forensic science laboratories to get rid of the 23 000-sample backlog, overhauling the police’s chronically “substandard” officer-training regime and affecting real change in police ranks.

“Wasting our time on rank and title changes is unfathomable,” she said.

Kohler Barnard said the new changes were almost identical to apartheid-era South African Police (SAP) ranks.

She said the national commissioner would now become a general, the deputy national commissioner would be known as lieutenant general, assistant commissioners would be major generals and directors would be brigadiers.

Senior superintendents would be lieutenant colonels, captains would be majors and inspectors would be captains. A sergeant would reportedly be a lieutenant.

“Not only do these changes come at great financial cost, it is also highly problematic that the new rank structures and militarisation of the police is reminiscent of the apartheid-era SAP — effectively a return to apartheid policing structures.

“This, together with increasing accounts of police brutality and a rise in civilian deaths at the hands of police, leaves us with little reason to believe that crimes perpetrated by criminals will go down and every reason to believe that crimes perpetrated by police officers will go up.” — Sapa

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Related stories


Subscribers only

How lottery execs received dubious payments through a private company

The National Lottery Commission is being investigated by the SIU for alleged corruption and maladministration, including suspicious payments made to senior NLC employees between 2016 and 2017

Pandemic hobbles learners’ futures

South African schools have yet to open for the 2021 academic year and experts are sounding the alarm over lost learning time, especially in the crucial grades one and 12

More top stories

What the Biden presidency may mean for Africa

The new US administration has an interest and much expertise in Africa. But given the scale of the priorities the administration faces, Africa must not expect to feature too prominently

Zuma, Zondo play the waiting game

The former president says he will talk once the courts have ruled, but the head of the state capture inquiry appears resigned to letting the clock run out as the commission's deadline nears

Disinformation harms health and democracy

Conspiracy theorists abuse emotive topics to suck the air out of legitimate debate and further their own sinister agendas

Uganda: ‘I have never seen this much tear-gas in an...

Counting was slow across Uganda as a result of the internet shutdown, which affected some of the biometric machines used to validate voter registrations.

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…