Thursday, 17 June 2021

Pretoria: South Africa’s National Police Commissioner General, Khehla John Sitole, will assume the chairship of the Southern African Regional Police Chief’s Cooperation (SARPCCO) from August.

SARPCCO, which was established in 1995 for police forces, combines resources and expertise in fighting transnational crime across borders in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region.

The appointment was marked by a ceremonial handing over of the Sword of Honour during the 26th General Meeting of SARPCCO, which was held through video conferencing on Wednesday.

Sitole takes over the role from Botswana’s Keabetswe Makgophe, whose 12 months in office comes to an end.

South Africa will be assuming the chairship for the seventh time, having done so in 1997, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2015.

In his acceptance speech, Sitole expressed gratitude to Makgophe for his resolve in leading the organisation during a time of uncertainty.

“The advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, which unfortunately has continued to claim the lives of many of our citizens, including gallant men and women of our Police Services/Forces, has led us to change the way we conduct our policing business,” said Sitole.

Given this prevailing situation, Sitole said Commissioner Makgophe was dynamic enough to adapt to the new philosophy of policing, responsive to the current terrain now referred to as the new normal, where almost every regional engagement had to be done virtually.

“This is evident from the Tenure of Office Report that the outgoing Chairperson just shared with us this morning,” he said.

The incoming Chairperson also acknowledged the role played by other member countries for ensuring stability and cooperation on safety and security related matters within the region.  The challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic to policing were also brought to the fore and discussed by General Sitole.

Sitole has committed to ensure greater cooperation within the region and also outlined his plans to devise new ways of combating international organised crime syndicates, as well as cross border crimes through the introduction of the Policing Nomics Concept: a study of policing methodologies and practice through the lens of modern economics, innovation and creativity.

Since its inception, the body has been able to establish a comprehensive approach in terms of regional policing through cooperative engagement of member countries such as joint cross-border operations, joint training, harmonisation of legislation, and the sharing of good practices to contribute to the grand economic strategy for each country.

SARPCCO countries include South Africa, Angola, Botswana, Namibia, DRC, Lesotho, Madagascar, Seychelles, Mozambique, Zambia, Tanzania, Mauritius, Swaziland and Zimbabwe.