Controversial police chief resigns

Henry

Brig. Nokuthula Pete, the controversial commander of the Paarl police station, around whose head a racial storm erupted there, has resigned.

RNews reported earlier that several organizations demanded Pete’s head after she said, among other things, that the Paarl police were too white.

In December last year, in comments to a fellow user on Facebook, she said that the Paarl police station needed a lieutenant colonel in the financial department and that she would sign off on this transfer so that she could change “this white supremacy”, because the “Pearl is white”.

She has since removed those posts – but not before taking screenshots of them.

The Western Cape police confirmed earlier that an internal investigation into the incident had been launched. However, it is unclear whether the investigation has been completed and, if so, what its findings were.

RNews sent an inquiry to the police about Pete’s resignation, but has not yet received a response.

The trade union Solidarity, which insisted on Pete’s suspension and put pressure on the police to take concrete steps, says it is “delighted” about her resignation.

“After 37 years of service and only three years left before Brig. Pete was to retire, her sudden resignation makes it very clear to us that she knew she would lose her job,” said Ronel Stander, network organizer at Solidarity in Bellville in the Western Cape.

“This is very good news for Solidarity and the message we want to send is that the police management must know they are being watched and that we will spare nothing to ensure that justice is done in the workplace.

“This must be a very clear message that we will not tolerate racism or false allegations of racism in the workplace.”

Pete’s resignation was also welcomed by the pressure group Action Society.

“It’s a huge success for the people of Paarl, but also for South Africans who say ‘no’ to racism,” said Ian Cameron, director of community safety at Action Society.

“It’s a success for organizations that stood together and said ‘no’ to her behavior as a fake leader.”

Cameron says the police must focus on fighting crime and serving citizens.

“Appointments must be made according to existing guidelines in the police and all the more based on merit.”