Contact crime top priority for Gauteng’s new top cop

Lieutenant-General Elias Mawela Elias Mawela.
Lieutenant-General Elias Mawela Elias Mawela.
Image: VELI NHLAPO

Gauteng’s new top cop Lieu-tenant-General Elias Mawela has vowed to tackle the high levels of contact crime in the province.

Police minister Bheki Celeannounced Mawela as thenew Gauteng’s police commissioner in Mamelodi East police station yesterday.

The 51-year-old former head of special forces in Gauteng told Sowetan that his instant priority was reducing the high levels of contact crime in the province.

“Serious and contact crimes in this province [are] rife. We can’t have criminals brazenly robbing members of the public anywhere they like,” he said

“We are going to bring an end to it but we will need to work with our communities to make sure that we make headway in the reduction of those crimes.”

Mawela’s appointment comes three months after Lt-Gen Deliwe de Lange called time on her 35-year police career. She was later arrested and accused of being part of an elaborate fraud scheme in connection with supposedly dubious tax certificates for a lucrative R84m tender in connection with government vehicles.

Mawela said he was concerned that Gauteng had three of the top five police stations with highest number of rep or ted serious crimes in the country.

The stations are Hillbrow, Johannesburg Central and Kagiso on the West Rand.

He said he could not reveal the details of his plans as he was yet to meet with members of the criminal justice system cluster.

“We are still going to unveil our plans. I have just been appointed and I must still talk to my members so that they understand the plan and we share the same vision.”

Gauteng premier David Makhura, community safety MEC Sizakele Nkosi Malobane, together with national police commissioner general Khehla Sitole, joined Cele in announcing the reorganisation of the SAPS in Gauteng.

Sitole described Mawela as a seasoned career police officer who worked his way up through the ranks.

“He has been at the station,so he knows and understands what the station is. He has been at the level of the province, and at national he has been a divisional commission for Operational Response Services, and he drove all the national operations including Operation Fiela.

“His success and progress is known and that makes him special and most fitting to the post,” Sitole said.

He said Mawela went through a rigorous vetting process in a bid to eliminate prospects of appointing someone with a questionable past.

He joined the police force in 1984. He obtained a national diploma in policing and a bachelors degree in administration. He served at various police stations in Gauteng as a detective commander and station commander.

He was appointed deputy area commissioner of Pretoria until 2004 when he occupied the position of head of the ports entry component of the protection and security services division.

Mawela served as a joint chairperson of the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure the operational arm of the Justice Crime Prevention and Security Cluster

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