Gen Sehlahle Fannie Masemola sets the agenda as he takes on top cop post

01 April 2022 - 16:40
By Ernest Mabuza
Newly appointed police commissioner Gen Sehlahle Masemola.
Image: GCIS Newly appointed police commissioner Gen Sehlahle Masemola.

Newly appointed national police commissioner Gen Sehlahle Fannie Masemola says the immediate priority is to build and strengthen community-police relations and change the negative public perception of the police.

There is also a need to improve morale and the integrity of police officers who have a constitutional duty to serve and to protect communities.

Speaking on Friday at his first media briefing after being appointed on Thursday, Masemola listed safety and security issues he intended to focus on. These include:

  • the safety of police officers and the ongoing attacks on them;
  • DNA backlogs in the forensic science laboratories;
  • problems at the Central Firearms Registry; and
  • filling critical vacancies in divisions such as crime intelligence and the Hawks.

Also high on the agenda will be advanced and refresher training of members, as the SAPS embraces international policing standards.

“This is over and above the entry-level training, such as the one that will commence soon for 12,000 new recruits,” he said.

Another concern was the damage to critical infrastructure and extortion at construction sites.

“A dedicated capacity has already been established in this regard and we will be dealing decisively with crimes in relation to critical infrastructure and illicit mining.”

Police will intensify efforts to reduce cash-in-transit heists and other aggravated crimes, he said.

Police minister Bheki Cele said there was an urgent need to rebuild the trust relationship between communities and the police.

“This will be a legacy that will benefit not only the organisation, and the criminal justice system, but the country for generations to come,” Cele said.

Masemola was no stranger to the police, having joined as a young recruit in 1990, he said.