The Economist on our crooked police chief – Jackie Selebi

The (hopefully former) head of police in South Africa is a crook. As the Economist reports he has “admitted to being a friend of Glen Agliotti, a drug trafficker who was implicated in the murder in 2005 of a shady mining magnate”. Now there are new (well-founded) allegations that “as well as handing out bags of cash to Mr Selebi, Mr Agliotti also paid for some of the police chief’s shopping. In return, Mr Selebi protected Mr Agliotti’s friends and shared confidential documents with him”.

Unfortunately out of loyalty Thabo Mbeki has been protecting Selebi from prosecution – I always complain about the ANC being more concerned with loyalty than competence.

We are now left in a crazy situation:

  • The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) are trying to nail Selebi as the crook he is – this is their job
  • Mbeki made sure that the head of the NPA was fired in September for going after Selebi
  • Now the NPA have followed through and are going to charge Selebi anyway
  • In retaliation the police arrested the NPA investigator on trumped up charges

This stuff is crazy. We need a new government. The ANC have done some things well, but at the moment they are doing a lot of things particularly badly. This is the last paragraph from the Economist:

This murky sort of business would scandalise any country. But in one plagued by some of the highest levels of violent crime in the world, it is tragic that South Africa’s law-enforcement officials should expend so much energy fighting each other rather than the criminals. The police judged that they needed no fewer than 20 armed officers to arrest Mr Nel at his home. On the hopeful side, the charges against Mr Selebi show that no one yet is above the law. But if they turn out to be true, it will further reduce confidence in a police force that is often perceived, at best, as merely incompetent.