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'I will not be playing a political role,' says new police boss

President Jacob Zuma and newly appointed National Police Commissioner General Khehla John Sitole
President Jacob Zuma and newly appointed National Police Commissioner General Khehla John Sitole

Newly appointed police commissioner Kehla Sitole says he will not be playing any political role in the police service.

“I am not going to play a political role. That role is defined for the minister and the minister is working together with me‚” said Sitole on Radio 702 on Tuesday.

“I am going to play a leadership role and command the police service‚ but policing itself is a subject that focuses on the safety of the country‚ to clear society of criminals and I have no role in politics. I have a political executive who will do that.”

He said one of his priorities is to keep the crime intelligence unit out of politics. “I do have the capacity to keep it outside politics and not only crime intelligence‚ the whole organisation.”

He said the police service was facing challenges and requires a “clean up”.

“The organisation is facing some difficulties‚ including leadership challenges. The Saps is a huge organisation and requires a strong collective leadership‚ which needs teamwork.

“One of my priorities is to build a united team that should work together in order to meet the expectations of the community and the client.”

Confidence in the police has dropped a “little bit”‚ Sitole said‚ adding that he will work on bringing that confidence back.

“One of my strategies is to secure [communities’] involvement‚ like maximising civil society participation in policing and crime prevention‚” he said.

Commenting on the tension between the police and the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid)‚ Sitole said: “Both Ipid and police have collective responsibility to provide policing to the community. We are forced to work together”.

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