The South African Police Union (Sapu) has criticized Police Minister Bheki Cele for his comment on people with tattoos, saying it was out of order and factually incorrect.
Cele said people with tattoos have a “tendency to be gangsters” and the police service doesn’t hire them.
He spoke to one during the dispatch of additional security personnel in response Mass shooting at a tavern in Soweto over the weekend.
“If you have a tattoo, we don’t hire you because you have a tendency to be a gangster,” said Cele.
At least 16 people were shot dead and at least nine others injured at the tavern in Orlando East, Soweto. All of the deceased and injured were over the age of 18 and the tavern operated within the legal opening hours.
Sapu spokeswoman Lesiba Thobakgale said on 702 Cele’s comment was another example of police leadership shifting focus from the force’s core issues, including lack of leadership and mismanagement.
He said police regulations officers should not have visible tattoos have when they wear their summer uniform.
“A tattoo has nothing to do with someone being a criminal. You can be a gangster without a tattoo. We question the police service’s policy on tattoos because they discriminate against those who have them,” Thobakgale said.
He said tattoos have nothing to do with the service, officers do.
“When we look at what Cele is doing, they shift the real focus to policing. Because of this, people are shifting the focus to other things, but not the real issues that are burning within the service, the real issues that our community members are facing, such as a crime rampage within the SA sphere ‘ said Thobakgale. span>
Ivan Meyer, MEC for Agriculture Western Cape said Cele’s comment was ridiculous.
“I dissociate myself from the comments of Bheki Cele people with tattoos. It is ridiculous. What was he smoking to make such remarks? I have more respect for people with tattoos than for this Malkop Minister of Crime,” he said.
< p>In Cele’s comments did not sit well on social media, with numerous mixed reactions being expressed.
Here is a snapshot of some of the reactions:< /p>