Bheki Cele admits police have “dropped the ball”.
Now there's an understatement.
The sterk bek police minister was all apologies after his cops used water cannons on disabled grant beneficiaries, who failed to adhere to social distancing protocol outside a Sassa office in Bellville last month.
“We used a tactic that should have been used on rioters. There was no reason to use a water cannon on the people and we are investigating that,” Cele said this week.
He noted a contrast with how cops handled a protest on beaches around Cape Town last Saturday, where people demanded the government relax Level 3 lockdown regulations and open the beaches.
That time, officers just parked off on the sand and looked on as protesters koeled af in the surf, many not bothering to wear masks.
The defiant beach-goers got off with a warning.
Meanwhile, just up the road from Muizenberg Beach, a church camp of 50 people was not so lucky.
The worshippers were holding a service in a cave in the Muizenberg mountains when they were interrupted by SanParks officials and arrested by police.
They spent the night at the cop shop where they were arrested on charges of trespassing and breaching the Disaster Management Act.
You have to wonder how the police determine who is to be arrested and who is let off the hook.
It would seem the disabled are fair game.
On Tuesday, cops allegedly assaulted a deaf and mute man, arrested and fined him R1000 for not listening to instructions.
Quinton Muller, 55, says he could not read the lips of the masked officers who reprimanded him for not following lockdown rules.
The Lavender Hill oupa was thrown into a SAPS van and taken to Steenberg cop shop, the experience he says has left him traumatised.
What the hell, man?!
Are you saying there are no gangsters and drug dealers in Lavender Hill to deal with, so cops need to resort to roughing up a deaf and mute oupa?
Minister Cele, call your forces to order.
Clearly, the police need to get their priorities straight.
There can't be such blatant double standards when it comes to arrests.
And cops need to be focusing on serious and violent crimes.
Surely, the public would prefer to see 50 killers and rapists behind bars, rather than 50 kerkmense.
Cele is also overly concerned with fighting political battles.
We all know national SAPS has long been at loggerheads with Provincial and City law enforcement.
Both sides are distracted by this constant blame game and it's counter-productive to the war on crime.
Again, Cele blasted Premier Alan Winde this week, accusing him of defying national regulations: “The Western Cape is a problem, there is nothing called the Republic of the Western Cape and this province must act accordingly.
“He sits as premier when the decisions are made about rules, but comes out in public and calls them nonsense which then promotes unlawfulness. He must stop doing that.”
Save the tough talk for the criminals and the corrupt, Mr Minister!