I see a bad moon arising ...
18/01/2008 21:17 - (SA)
Cape Town - There is a "rising tide" of corruption in the SA Police Service, Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille alleged on Friday.
"Minister of Safety and Security (Charles Nqakula)
and the leadership of the SAPS need to find the political will to
acknowledge the grave threat that police corruption poses to our
country," she said in her weekly on-line newsletter.
One of the main reasons the fight against drugs in South Africa was so ineffective was the police were protecting drug lords.
Referring to the charges against National Police Commissioner Jackie Selebi,
she said many South Africans would not have been particularly surprised
to learn of allegations he was being paid protection money by a drug
"After all, that merely reflects their daily experience at
grassroots level, where distraught families of drug addicts are
convinced that drug lords are being protected by corrupt local
policemen in return for bribes.
"In KwaZulu-Natal, for example, the use of 'sugars' - a deadly
mixture of low-grade heroin, cocaine and dagga - is spreading rapidly
throughout Durban and the province, largely due to the alleged
co-operation between drug dealers and crooked SAPS officers.
"According to a former addict in Chatsworth, drug dealers pay
what they call a 'tax' to certain members of the SAPS in return for
'A surreal experience'
The situation was similar in the Western Cape, where it was
blindingly obvious that drug dealers were able to operate with impunity
because they were paying off the police.
"It is common knowledge that drug lords are tipped off before
police raids, and are protected in a host of other ways in return for
Zille said when the police arrested her and other members of
the community during a legal and peaceful anti-drug march in Mitchell's
Plain recently, she had experienced first hand the police hostility
towards those who were taking a stand against drugs.
"It was a surreal experience to be marching from one drug den
to another (which often look like villas compared to the humble houses
"I asked myself again and again: how is it possible that
dealers can continue to ply an illegal trade that is destroying an
entire generation of young people, under the very noses of the police?"
Zille said the Selebi case made the answer obvious.
Culture of graft
"Police protection of drug lords is the key reason why the fight against the local drug trade is so ineffective."
Most telling was the acute perception of police corruption among the police themselves.
Zille said there remained a great many police offices across the
country who had remained steadfastly committed to the battle against
"These hard-working officers are increasingly undermined by the
culture of graft and self-interest which is causing the public to lose
faith in the force."