Pretoria: It was a special day for the new National Police Commissioner General Khehla Sitole when he was officially handed the Sword of Command. Police Minister Fikile Mbalula handed the sword to General Sitole on Monday in front of hundreds of men and women in blue, who converged at the Tshwane Police Academy. President Jacob Zuma, who appointed General Sitole last Wednesday, was meant to attend the ceremony but cancelled.

Minister Mbalula said it was a proud day as the sword symbolises righteousness and justice, and an expectation for police to render a service to the community that is fair, nonpartisan and non-political.

“The sword obliges General Sitole to serve his country with loyalty, courage, dignity and honour, and to execute duties and responsibilities with zeal and diligence, while setting a good example to those placed under his command.” said Minister Mbalula.

The Minister hoped that the new commissioner will do the “simple things” by changing perceptions and to ensure that the SAPS, with all its resources, optimally utilises them and ensure that citizens are and feel safe. He also expects him to fight corruption without fear or favour and to be honourable.

”Our people are asking for good service, and to put them first (Batho Pele).” Minister Mbalula also hoped that the new commissioner will bring stability to the SAPS and complete the amalgamation of all the pre-democracy 14 police forces into a democratic SAPS in a fair and equitable manner. He said the morale or the staff should be high on the agenda. “I have no doubt he will abide by the rules and lead the men and women in blue.” he said.

Taking the lead against crime

On the crime fighting front, Minister Mbalula hoped that General Sitole will lead the country in reducing the high number of serious crimes, crimes against women and children as well as increase detection in organised crimes.

For this to happen, the Minister said General Sitole needs support and cooperation from all sectors, including National Prosecuting Authority, Correctional Services, Social Services and the Justice Department. In taking the sword, General Sitole vowed to “serve the country with loyalty, courage, dignity, and honour. General Sitole has already hit the ground running by introducing a new turnaround strategy for the country last week, which was less than 24 hours after his appointment.

“I am a little step ahead because I know my Minister is proactive. That is why I introduced the new turnaround strategy.” said Sitole.

The new commissioner’s vision for the police includes stamping the authority of the State by combating gangsterism; reclaiming communities which are seen as no-go areas for police; fighting organised crime, putting an end to police killings and the reintroduction of Operation Fiela to hotspots such as to KwaZulu-Natal, which is battling political killings. He believes when implemented right, these strategies will reduce crime and protect the outcomes of the National Development Plan and the economy so that people will continue investing and making a difference.

General Sitole described his strategy as “vision in action”, as it interconnects with all other organs of the State.

“What interconnects us all is the NDP… That is why we will be protecting all other outcomes of the plan. One of the main aims of the turnaround strategy is to secure the grand economic strategy of the country and ensure that the economic growth is taking place undisturbed. I have a strong belief that if there is economic stability, there would be no need to commit the crime.”  General Sitole said.

The strategy will also see SAPS introducing a National Crime Prevention Framework that will involve all stakeholders to unite in the fight against crime. This will also see the shift of resources to local police stations. Under General Sitole’s watch, SAPS will also kick off the festive season campaign, which aims to create a safe and secure holiday for all. – SAnews.gov.za

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