Comments made by the new Minister of Police, Fikile “Razzmatazz” Mbalula, that police must “fight fire with fire”, “shoot back, don’t retreat” and that he “does not want another Marikana” in reference to the constitutionally enshrined right to protest are deeply troubling and only confirms that he is not fit for office.
These disturbing comments, made at a parade held by the South African Police Service (SAPS) earlier this morning, are reckless and could result in loss of life, including the lives of police members and innocent bystanders.
The DA is of the belief that both Mbalula, and his Deputy, Bongani Mkongi, are unfit to head the Department of Police, as both have expressed troubling views on the use of violence, and how the people of South Africa can and should be treated.
Mbalula, while he was Deputy Minister of Police for a few short months between 2009 and 2010, suggested that it was inevitable that innocent civilians will die in crossfire in the fight against criminals, and urged police to shoot to kill “anybody who is endangering the lives of the people”.
In 2016, Mkongi suggested that a Cape Town apartment building – to which a giant “Zuma Must Fall” billboard had been attached – should be burned down, irrespective of the occupants inside.
It is unacceptable that these men, who can so glibly utter such thoughtless and dangerous statements, can be trusted with the safety and security of millions of South Africans.
Yet, it is obvious that Mbalula and Mkongi represent the interests of Jacob Zuma who consistently rewards those who are ineffective, yet compliant. Their concern is not the ordinary South Africans who suffer from violence and crime on a daily basis.
Mbalula and Mkongi would rather revel in pomp and ceremony at a parade to honour their egos than get down to the very serious business of ensuring that SAPS members have the equipment, training and resources they need to make South Africa safe.
It is apparent that Mbalula is willing to prioritise pomp and ceremony over the needs of the SAPS and the safety of the people of South Africa.
The DA will submit parliamentary questions to find out exactly how much was funnelled from the SAPS to pay for this parade.
The DA will not stand by while money that should be spent on equipping the SAPS and making South Africans safe is wasted on feeding Mbalula’s ego.