SA’s new top cop welcomed by Ramaphosa and Cele


SA Police Service (SAPS) lieutenant general Sehlahle Fannie Masemola is the ninth national police commissioner appointed by the governing party since it came to power in 1994.

He follows General Khehla Sitole whose occupation of the top cop suite of offices was “terminated by mutual agreement” with President Cyril Ramaphosa in “the best interests of the country”.

Previous incumbents, including two acting national commissioners, were George Fivaz (1995-2000), Jackie Selebi (2000-09), current Police Minister Bheki Cele (2009-11), Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi (2011-12), Riah Phiyega (2012-15), Khomotso Phahlane (2015-17), Lesetja Mothiba (2017) and Stihole (2017-22).

Introducing the new top cop to South Africans, Ramaphosa listed a number of Masemola’s achievements prior to him being a deputy police commissioner.

These include de-escalating violence in KwaZulu-Natal ahead of the 1994 elections and co-ordinating security for all elections since; reducing cash-in-transit robberies in 2016; securing events including United Nations summits, international climate conferences and the FIFA Soccer World Cup 2010.

Masemola, who will now become a four-star general, also chaired NATJOINTS (National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure) during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ramaphosa touched on the issue of government security structures when welcoming Masemola. He said further steps would be taken to restore stability to security structures, including filling critical vacancies in the State Security Agency (SSA) and Crime Intelligence.

Cele’s Police Ministry is reported by SAnews as saying: “It is confident Masemola, who served as Deputy National Commissioner responsible for Policing since April 2016, will hit the ground running in pursuing the overall vision of the organisation (the SA Police Service) and take it to new heights”.

“The ministry will continue to lend support to the office of the National Commissioner, as it charts the course of action we are sure will build on restoration of morale and unity in the organisation.

“We are optimistic this shift in SAPS top management will not derail efforts to build an efficient and trustworthy police service is accessible to all our people and unapologetic about preventing, combating and investigating crime; maintaining public order and upholding and enforcing the law.”