Ivor Chipkin Discusses South African Police Challenges: An Interview with Newzroom Afrika


Ivor Chipkin, the Executive Director of the New South Institute (NSI), appeared on Newzroom Afrika channel on August 7th to provide an in-depth discussion of the complexities of police management in South Africa. The interview revolved around critical issues, such as the surge in crime rates, a decrease in police resources, and the pervasive politicization of the police force. Chipkin’s insights in the interview were heavily informed by his research and the findings from the NSI’s publication, “The Function of The Police: Crime, Social Emergencies, and Disorder,” which he authored.

Released on June 14, 2023, the publication offers a comprehensive examination of the role of the South African police service. Chipkin outlines the pressing challenges in discerning between crimes, social emergencies, and disorders, and articulates the police’s essential function in managing these multifaceted situations. His research underscores the critical need for a police service that resonates with the requirements of ordinary South Africans and rectifies the entrenched biases within the system.

In the Newzroom Afrika interview, Chipkin provided detailed insights into the evolving landscape of police reform in South Africa. He traced the shift that occurred with the appointment of Jackie Selebi as National Police Commissioner in 2000, leading to a police service increasingly influenced by political agendas. Chipkin emphasized the imperative of depoliticizing the police force as an initial measure to reorient its focus on effective crime management. He backed his observations with data from the study, advocating for police autonomy as public servants and a reassessment of the appointment protocols for senior roles.

Ending on an optimistic note, Chipkin elucidated the study’s aim of reimagining policing in South Africa beyond the conventional scope of law enforcement. The comprehensive vision detailed in the study, and highlighted in the interview, advocates for a police service that genuinely serves and safeguards its citizens within a democratic framework. This conversation with Newzroom Afrika not only brings these critical issues to the forefront but also underscores NSI’s dedication to facilitating nuanced and actionable dialogue on public policy and administration.

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