PRETORIA – Acting national police chief, Lieutenant-General Johannes Phahlane on Tuesday urged police officers to avoid from the rapidly spreading phenomenon of “Blessers” and “Ben 10s”. “I have been reading things, and sisters, you must pardon me: This thing of yours, the Ben 10s and the ‘Blessers’… Can we make it foreign to ourselves? Can you make it foreign to the South African Police Service?” Phahlane said to applause at the relaunch of the SAPS Women’s Network and Men for Change programme in Pretoria.
“I am not saying you must confess, I’m just saying it: Blessers and Ben 10s, while (your) children at home do not have anything to eat, you are busy ‘blessing’ someone. These are things which characterise our society today. I don’t think all these things are taking us anywhere.”
Ben 10, named after the children’s cartoon, is used colloquially in South Africa to refer to a young man dating or having sex with an older woman. Blessers, on the other hand, are sugar daddies.
Phahlane told his charges that moral regeneration in South Africa could not be left to churches and religious groups alone.
“We talked about moral regeneration. Whose responsibility is it supposed to be? It can’t be left to the churches. We must play our part because we represent an organisation which people see as that institution pursuing a mission to ensure that everyone is, and feels safe, at all times. We can’t do the opposite,” said Phahlane, addressing hundreds of senior police officers.
“Moral regeneration should be part and parcel of our programme as Women’s Network and Men for Change.”
Phahlane urged members of the SAPS to take part in projects of community empowerment and development.
The SAPS gathering started on Monday. The Women’s Network and Men for Change structures were established in 2003 and 2004 respectively to champion the rights of the most vulnerable groups. The programmes are aimed at ensuring that female emancipation is realised, while Men for Change deals with the critical role of eradicating gender-based violence and the issues men face in policing.