Social workers honour SA's top cop
AMID the challenges and controversy surrounding national police commissioner Riah Phiyega, her fellow social workers showered her with encouragement and appreciation for her work at a special lunch in Randburg on Sunday.
Phiyega, who is a social worker by profession, was honoured by other social workers, some of whom she studied with.
Social Development Department head Shoki Tshabalala - who is also a social worker - said at the event: "We are here to recognise and give praise to the commissioner and also acknowledge social workers.
"We want to encourage young social workers to use the commissioner as a good example and follow in her footsteps."
On arrival with her husband, Elias Phiyega, the top cop was welcomed with singing, ululation and a round of hugs from her fellow caregivers. She expressed her gratitude and applauded all social workers.
"I am humbled by this gesture. Right now I am feeling warm in a very cold environment," said Phiyega. The caring nature of social workers shows the affirmation of this profession and the potential within."
Phiyega urged aspiring caregivers to never give up. With her new position, she said she accepted the "enormous" task with a lot of humility and promised to deliver to the best of her ability.
"Allow me to do it my way, using what I have. I will try my level best not to disappoint the women and black citizens of our country. Your safety and security is non-negotiable. This has nothing to do with me, it is about serving my country."
Phiyega said the police service was the largest portfolio with about 200000 members and a budget of more than R6-billion.
Phiyega has faced fierce criticism following the Marikana massacre, , which left 34 protesting miners dead.
"Safety of the public is not negotiable. Don't be sorry about what happened," she said at the funeral of Warrant Officer Sello Ronnie Lepaku - who was killed during the upheavals at the Lonmin mine a weekend leading to the fateful day.