short, sharp south african e-books

For ipad, android, kindle, Kobo, Gobii, PC & Mac or Print-out   

Download our ipad app



Number 5
  • GENRE: Society, politics, crime
  • LENGTH: 14 100 words
  • READING TIME: +/- 60 mins
  • ISBN: 978-0-9921727-6-3
About Mandy Wiener

Multi award-winning investigative journalist Mandy Wiener needs no introduction. Our very own radio personality’s love for reading started after reading The Power of One, and today, she’s a published author herself. Mandy comes from a small town but by no means share the blink-and-you-miss-it mentality. As a reporter for Radio 702, and now, EWN, Mandy is a household name, and if you haven’t listened to her on air, then you’re missing out.

Mandy’s first book sold at the speed of light, and she is, without a doubt, one of South Africa’s finest writers.

Number 5
After Selebi, Cele and Mdluli: the challenge of being Riah Phiyega
Mandy Wiener

Riah Phiyega sits in the black leather chair that has hosted four men in the past four years. It is hers, for now. But she too, may be no more than a guest. She is an outsider. She will never get straight answers to her questions, she will never get to the bottom of a dysfunctional structure, she will never penetrate an opaque bureaucracy that looks after its own. The position of National Commissioner of Police is mired in controversy, scandal and corruption. The police force itself is widely disliked. Why would Phiyega, a respected business executive with no experience in policing, accept such a task? And, if she gets to sit in that chair for longer than the four men who left amid flashing cameras, how will South Africa judge her? On doctored crime statistics? On the number of poorly trained rookies who join the service? On the number of policemen killed each year? On the number killed by police? On her loyalty to the president who appointed her?

Mandy Wiener investigates the appointment of South Africa’s first female National Commissioner of Police, and looks ate the state of our police. The more she speaks to senior police officials and retired veterans about the rot hidden within the police force, the more evident it becomes that Phiyega’s task is not merely beyond her... it may be beyond the abilities of anyone.


The controversies around the last three commissioners have harmed the organisation and affected morale. Gareth Newham agrees. “They have had to endure two National Commissioners who have acted badly and deeply reduced public trust in the SAPS. The debacles around each of these men have sent out a message that it is not hard work, honesty or professionalism that will result in appointment to the top of the organisation. Instead, it’s clear that political loyalty to the president is far more important than skill, experience and integrity.

“This fundamentally undermines the extent to which the SAPS can develop a professional policing ethos. It sends out a clear message that the police are not expected to adhere to the constitution and to serve all South Africans fairly and within the law. What gets you to the top, irrespective of your conduct and integrity, is political loyalty to a particular faction within the ruling party. This is very demoralising to those police officers who believe that their job is to enforce the law without fear and favour and be a service to the community.

“These controversies have also damaged pubic trust in the SAPS as citizens realise that policing standards will continue to deteriorate while those appointed to head the organisation do not have the skills and experience required to improve policing. This, in turn, undermines police-community relations and further demoralises police officials. It then becomes very difficult to address police misconduct, brutality and corruption, which occur at a high rate throughout the organisation. This does not have to be the situation as we have many dedicated, honest and skilled senior policemen and -women of all races with many years of experience. Some have post-graduate qualifications in management. The question must be asked: why do the ruling elite not want to appoint the best available police officers to head the SAPS?”

Between 2006 and 2009, Newham was the policy advisor and special projects manager for the Gauteng MEC for Community Safety, Firoz Cachalia. During this time he helped develop the Gauteng Safety Strategy 2006 – 2014, amongst other policies. He suggests Phiyega should start by earning the trust of the experienced generals and then undertake an audit of all senior ranking officials with regards to their skills, experience and performance, as recommended by the National Planning Commission.

“Those that have been irregularly appointed and who do not have the qualities needed to improve the SAPS must be demoted or removed to positions where they have little authority. Allnew appointments must be made solely on merit. This will be the first step towards instilling an ethos of professional integrity amongst the senior management team.

“As she knows nothing about policing or the SAPS, she will need to rely heavily on her senior management team for advice and to affect improvements. If she does not ensure that herentire senior management team is highly competent, she will end up receiving bad advice from generals and she will make similar mistakes to her predecessors. Given her lack of experience,she won't know which generals are the good ones.

“Once she has a solid team of professional senior police leaders, they must develop a clear five-year plan to improve the organisation. This must be based on an empirical assessment of the weaknesses and failures of the SAPS. She should appoint a police advisory council made up of retired police officers with a proven track record, and experts in civil society with skills and

insights into organisational change management, and policing practice and culture. This council could undertake the organisational diagnostic.

“Being a civilian will mean that she will have to work extra hard to earn the trust and respect of her officers. She must consult meaningfully and be decisive when it's called for. She must not let the power that comes with the position go to her head if she doesn't want to follow the path of her predecessors. She must expect that powerful criminals will try to become friends with her and to influence her.”



0 #11 higherground 2013-08-14 08:43
When things start reaking like militarism, it is time to reconsider.
-5 #10 Believer 2013-05-23 12:23
I have strong faith and believe that the new Nascom will change things for the better!She is a born leader and humble.
-1 #9 injustice 2013-04-23 05:59
I hate the SAPS, they have made my life so miserable I don't evan feel sorry for them anymore, they have impounded my car for a month now, each time I go ask them how far they are, no they are still doing tests, I've tried to talk to the police station commander but they say she's always out, can't get hold of the circuit commissioner cos they r not allowed to give any numbers to the public, the pros acuter has dropped the charge of theft, oh yes they said my car was reported stolen, so now SMD sells stolen cars? Rubbish. I've proved to them that the car legally belongs to me, but still. All because the one detective told me to shut up & I told him not to tell me to shut up he must shut up, from then they're been giving me the run around.
I was stopped again take to risk's head office stripped searched all because the think we had drugs on us, took all money from my husband's wallet & said they're watching us. I'm a South African citizen & had to produce my I D I was not allowed to speak. If this is how they behave, how r they with the foreigner's. They don't hide their hate for us or the any1 that's not their nation. I need to expose them for what they are doing to me, this is pure down right harassment & bribery, as told not to say or do anything cos they'll kill me, they also came into my place & ransacked my place & left it in a state, they went through all my stuff when I wasn't @ home, who gave them permission, verbally assaulted my son, so who do I lay a complaint about this, if I go to the police I'll just be more victimized & harrased. There's no justice for the innocent.
0 #8 Tasha 2013-03-01 10:44
How can they expect citizens to pull over for them or trust them?
+1 #7 DoGood 2013-02-26 12:47
These steps have kept me safe from criminals who attack my house in Johannesburg (7 attacks in 13 years):

Have a basic indoor alarm system, and preferably an outdoor one as well.

Always arm them when you are asleep, and when out.

Everyone on the property must have mobile panic buttons on them at all times.

Everyone on the property must know what to do if they see suspicious activity, and when under criminal attack: set off an audible alarm with mobile panic buttons (often scares off intruders). Next, everyone on the property must know the emergency numbers to phone, & phone them very fast: speak to your security company if you have one; phone your sector patrol vehicle; phone 10111.

Using the above steps, no criminal has ever got hold of me, or stolen anything.

Have a neighbourhood email list on crime, which lets people know what is happening, how criminals attack, when the attacks occur, shares safety tips, shares notices about and results from CPF meetings, etc. Pass the information on to police and security companies; crime is very under-reported to police in SA.
0 #6 citizen 2013-02-26 09:05
Alas, true : a few years ago I worked at our sector police station for some days and nights. I was stunned by the lack of the most basic equipment - one computer terminal for a huge station, one authentication stamp for documents, no photocopy paper, no ink for pads. We were back in the 18th century. Good policemen and women are shockingly let down.
+1 #5 MADMAX 2013-02-26 08:31
As someone very involved at CPF level we get an opportunity to see what the TRUE SITUATION is and yes it is a very desperate picture. When not one detective at a station has a computer to work on ,when every step forward is only taken to offset 200 in reverse , when structures put in place simply collapse because resources and budget is not allocated to sustain efforts that amazingly were working , and the blame is laid at station level instead of the root cause. Basically very little hope as more and more of responsibility to police SA is passed off onto the community and private security companies. Could you imagine what SA would be like if security and policing was just the responsibility of SAPS & JMPD. JMPD that is even a bigger disaster !
0 #4 Yes-Yes 2013-01-19 13:57
The new NasCom is (unfortunately! ) set-up for failure!
+2 #3 Herms 2012-11-22 06:42
Brilliantly set out ...and easy to understand what are nation is faced with,
if the wrong the [National Commissioner] takes a wrong turn.
+6 #2 Mampoer 2012-11-15 12:31
Thank you Habs,

We appreciate your feedback!

Make your comments here