Mdluli a 'blast from the past'

Siphiwe Nyanda is concerned about apartheid-era police still being in the service. (Delwyn Verasamy, M&G)

Siphiwe Nyanda is concerned about apartheid-era police still being in the service. (Delwyn Verasamy, M&G)

This is according to General Siphiwe Nyanda, the chairperson of the party’s peace and stability commission.

Nyanda told the Mail & Guardian that during commissions delegates had raised concerns “that people who were chasing us during the struggle” were now policing society. According to Nyanda, the issue was “raised generally”, but Mdluli’s name had also come up in this regard.

Nyanda said there was “disquiet” among members that “people not known to the ANC were being deployed” to the police service.

He said the fact that policemen from the apartheid regime – both black and white – still served in  the police service had led to the “manifestation of the problems we are seeing now”.

South Africa’s state security apparatus has been riddled with controversy, ranging from the alleged Cato Manor death squads facing multiple charges of murder to allegations regarding the misuse of police intelligence. There have also been charges of corruption and maladministration that have stuck to the previous two police commissioners.

Structural changes
The ANC policy document on policing is calling for structural changes to create a single police force.
Nyanda said that although there had been criticism of the ANC’s policy of cadre deployment, in this instance it would have been beneficial for the creation of a more sensitive and responsive police service.

“There was a natural gravitation by Umkhonto weSizwe (MK) veterans to the defence force and not the police … So there are people in the police who do not have that ethos of selfless service and an understanding of the struggle,” said Nyanda.

Nyanda said that with MK veterans reaching pensionable age, it was up to the government to ensure that the so-called born-frees be trained and educated in the creation of a more humane police service.

On the transformation of the judiciary, Nyanda said delegates had raised concern about the “preponderance” of judgments against “legislation emanating from the legislature and decisions taken by the executive”.

He said that although delegates “supported the separation of powers”, they were “worried that the courts were being used by other people to frustrate the progression of policy emanating from the legislature”.

Very little discourse
Nyanda said there had been “very little discourse” regarding the transformation of the judiciary at commissions because there had been “limited time”. More focus would be placed on judicial matters raised in the ANC’s peace and stability discussion document at plenary sessions that, at the time of going to press on Thursday, had not yet started.

The ANC document proposes that future legislation on judicial governance and administration creates a regulating framework that would result in the administration of courts being handled by a newly formed judicial agency. But the document also allows for the possibility of a greater role for the legislature and the justice minister regarding “rules relating to matters which impact on public policy [which] should be approved by the minister and Parliament”.

Resolutions emanating from the plenaries are likely to feed into a proposed Judicial Authority Act.

Concern has been raised that placing the administration of the judiciary under the justice minister would be detrimental to the separation of powers.

Security guards get hot under the collar
“You’re not allowed to be here! You won’t be back here tomorrow,” the security guard shouted at the journalists.

“But you allowed us in after we asked,” we tentatively offered in return.

It was midday on Wednesday at the ANC policy conference in Midrand. Government ministers and ANC heavyweights were moving purposefully past us towards the dining hall.

Before any further argument, six of us had our accreditation tags forcefully taken from the string around our necks and were briskly spirited away by the security guards clad in ANC garb.

Two cameras were also taken away – their images for the day deleted from the memory cards.

“You’re doing this to please the white man,” one of the guards told Mail & Guardian photographer Oupa Nkosi, as his camera was ripped from his hand.

We all asked for reasons for this behaviour, but to no avail.

Several other journalists working in the vicinity were left alone to talk to delegates, some even conducting video interviews during the lunch hour.

The incident took place barely an hour after ANC spokesperson Keith Khoza told journalists that they were prohibited from the areas surrounding the ANC policy conference commissions while closed sessions took place.

He said it was because the ruling party feared information would be leaked, preventing delegates from being “open and honest”.

But Khoza said journalists were allowed to mingle with ­delegates during breaks.

“Security is security. Even ANC security does things that we don’t understand,” ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu said sheepishly after the accreditation cards and camera equipment were returned. “We apologise from the bottom of our hearts. We didn’t issue any instruction to delete photos, nor did any leader of the ANC. We will be following this up.” – Nickolaus Bauer

Niren Tolsi

Niren Tolsi

Niren Tolsi is a freelance journalist.His areas of interest include social justice; citizen mobilisation and state violence; protest; the constitution and the constitutional court and football. Read more from Niren Tolsi

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