n Journal of Public Administration - Interrogating the influence of pre-democratic police legacy on aspects of post apartheid police system in South Africa

Volume 50, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0036-0767



The main objective of this discourse is to reflect on how the apartheid police legacy and negative police sub-culture influenced the present police system in South Africa. This study was carried out within the South African Police Service structures in the Western Cape, Free State and Northern Cape provinces of Republic of South Africa. This study relied mainly on secondary data sources and oral interviews conducted among a purposively selected sample of 27 officers identified from the selected provinces for data gathering purpose. Among other findings, this study revealed that the pre-democratic police legacy and negative police sub-culture still have an influence on the proper execution of police powers and functions and the implementation of pragmatic police principles in the present South African democratic police regime. There have been a copious carry over and re-inventing of some of the apartheid police practices such as excessive use of force, selective policing, militarisation, the race label and identification system, which were given impetus by the subsisting unlimited powers of the Police Service, according to the relevant Police Act. This study therefore recommends a thorough overhauling of the system through designed paradigm shifts and retraining for the new paradigm to ensure a real democratic-based police system in the country.

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