Keep Politics Out of Policing in KwaZulu-Natal

Apr 13, 2024 | Press Releases

The IFP, as the Official Opposition in the KZN Legislature, has warned the South African Police Service (SAPS) that they must stay out of politics. This comes after the IFP’s KZN Premier Candidate, Cllr Thami Ntuli, was harassed and treated in an undignified manner by a contingent of the SAPS and Durban Metro Police recently while en route from a radio interview in Cornubia, Durban.

SAPS and law enforcement officials should always endeavour to remain non-partisan by not involving themselves in politics and by not being used as a political tool to serve their master’s at the expense of others.

Police must be apolitical while discharging their duties. They must focus on their work and mandate in fighting crime and keeping all South Africans safe. This contingent of law enforcement officials should leave politics to the politicians.

What happened to our KZN Premier Candidate is a clear indication that Police in KZN have joined the bandwagon of fighting political battles using state resources.

The IFP Premier Candidate for KZN, Cllr Ntuli, is not a criminal, nor a drug dealer, a serial killer, or a rapist. He has never stolen a cent from public funds. There are many government officials, for example, including ANC SG Fikile Mbalula, who are cruising at high speeds on our highways using blue lights, but he has never been harassed by the police.

We view this meddling by the Police as a failure by the authorities to tackle past police abuse in our elections and taking no action against these officials’ risks emboldening them to continue their misconduct around this year’s National and Provincial Elections.

Authorities need to enforce police accountability and end political interference of the police to put a stop to this worrying trend. Further, they need to do more to preserve the independence of the police and investigative bodies and ensure that law enforcement operations during elections are guided by national and international law.

The Constitution of the country expressly imposes an obligation on police officers to respect the dignity of all persons and to uphold their rights and freedoms. Police must serve all citizens fairly, irrespective of their political affiliation. It is essential that the police be insulated from extra-legal or illegal political interference.

The writing is on the wall for democratic space in KZN as it is shrinking, with increased cases of persecution of political rivals by the ruling party.

What happened to Cllr Ntuli is most unfortunate and counter-productive for the nation.

While leaders of opposition parties, like all other citizens, must be held accountable when they breach the law, in line with the rule of law, harassment that specifically targets opposition leaders who are critical of the current failed and incompetent government is an affront to the freedom of speech.

The IFP KZN Premier Candidate, Cllr Thami Ntuli, and other IFP leaders are not deterred by this incident, and they will continue holding rallies and community engagements until the last day of the election, even if they are harassed by the police in KZN.

Mr Blessed Gwala MPL
IFP Leader of Official Opposition in the KZN Legislature
078 290 5842

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