Police racism row grows

Date: 12 Dec 2006
A lack of response from SA Police Service senior management has resulted in a report on “new racism” in the ranks of the country’s crime fighters being passed to The Human Rights Commission for action. At the same time, Popcru, named as the culprit in many instances of racism reported to civil rights initiative AfriForum, has vehemently denied any involvement. AfriForum chief executive Kallie Kriel said a sworn statement alleged it was a Popcru strategy to use false accusations of racism or corruption, victimisation, threats and intimidation to target non-black members of the service. “Targeted individuals are immediately disempowered because they are afraid of acting decisively and are regarded with suspicion by all around them. “If they prove their innocence their careers are already ruined and a number have resigned due to stress.” In response, Popcru president Zizamele Cebekhulu said his organisation was non-racist. “We have fought all forms of racist practices irrespective of where they originate. This gives credence to our commitment to a non-racial police service. “We warn those fomenting these fictitious stories to desist and we stay committed to engaging any institution in our fight against racism.” The AfriForum report – “New Racism in the SA POLICE service” – contains 10 case studies of police officers who have been subjected to racism as well as a sworn statement on the so-called “Popcru strategy”. In one of the studies, it is alleged National Commissioner Jackie Selebi “expressed his support” for a junior policeman who unlawfully arrested a commissioner in Pretoria. By Kim Helfrich The Citizen 12/12/06