13 June 2012
President Jacob Zuma has appointed South Africa’s first female national police commissioner, Mangwashi Victoria Phiyega, to replace Bheki Cele, who has been fired after a presidential board of inquiry found him unfit for office.
Phiyega has been serving as chairperson of the Presidential Review Committee on State-Owned Enterprises, and deputy chair of the Independent Commission for the Remuneration of Public Office Bearers.
‘Wealth of experience as senior executive’
“Ms Phiyega brings a wealth of experience as a senior executive who understands the responsibility of government in the fight against crime and the duties imposed in dealing with state assets,” Zuma told a press briefing in Pretoria on Tuesday.
“I have every confidence that she will show leadership and acquit herself well as national commissioner.”
Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa welcomed Phiyega’s appointment, saying she brought with her a “wealth of experience on strategic leadership and a sound management background, both from public service and the private sector”.
This experience would “stand her in good stead as she steers the South African Police Service [SAPS] towards better compliance, systems integration, effective and greater accountability,” Mthethwa said.
Cele ‘unfit for office’
In September last year, Zuma appointed a board of inquiry, chaired by Justice Jakes Moloi, to investigate alleged misconduct by Cele and pronounce on his fitness for office.
“The board has found General Cele to be unfit for office and has recommended his removal from office in terms of the provisions of section 8(6)(b)(v) of the South African Police Service Act No. 68 of 1995,” Zuma said.
“Having thoroughly considered the report of the board, and applied my mind thereto, I have decided to release General Cele from his duties.”
Zuma said that Cele still had a lot to contribute to South Africa, adding that crime levels in the country had continued to drop under his tenure.
Improving management, financial, security systems
“However, the reports of the Public Protector and that of the board of inquiry indicate deficiencies administratively and in particular in relation to General Cele’s duties as an accounting officer,” Zuma said.
Zuma said he had had a discussion with Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa about “what needs to be corrected immediately within the SAPS so that we can continue the excellent record of fighting crime”.
This included management and financial systems as well as the breaches of information security which, Zuma said, had “unfortunately become common”.
“We have in the past few weeks witnessed a disappointing spectacle of police officers jeopardising state security by placing information in the public domain, in contravention of their oath of office. This is unacceptable and cannot be tolerated if the fight against crime is to continue being effective.”