Pretoria – Newly appointed national police commissioner General Khehla Sitole has vowed to serve the country with honour and courage.
On Monday morning, Police Minister Fikile Mbalula presided over the ceremony to bestow the sword of command on Sitole.
When Mbalula presented Sitole with the sword as a sign of his new power and authority – those in attendance cheered and ululated.
“General Sitole, it is your responsibility as the national police commissioner to ensure the safety of the citizens and inhabitants of this republic…” Mbalula said.
However, speaking to reporters shortly after the ceremony, Sitole said he was one step ahead with his duties.
He said his mandate was to ensure that economic growth was allowed to take place undisturbed.
“I have a strong belief that, if there was economic stability, there would be no need for our communities to commit crime. Economic stability leads to social stability,” he said.
Sitole added that he wanted to make things easier for himself, and had put plans into action to fight crime.
“I don’t want to spend much time and resources hunting criminals that I may already know where they are,” he said.
Sitole also said he would be beefing up policing in areas where crimes took place.
Meanwhile, Mbalula said he was only expecting “simple” things from the newly appointed commissioner – including fighting corruption “without fear or favour”.
“Our people are not asking much from him – they ask for honour,” he said.
He said the power bestowed on Sitole was not “unfettered” by the democratic order and values.
On Thursday last week, after he was introduced as the new top cop, Sitole said he would not bow to political pressure or interference, adding that it was his duty to protect the integrity of the police.
Sitole outlined his vision for SAPS and made it clear that there would be no political interference as he executed his vision.
“Firstly, let me start by saying, it is my responsibility to orientate the minister on all operational policies that govern the police,” Sitole said at the time.
Sitole, as part of his vision for policing, includes a clampdown on gangsterism, reclaiming crime-infested areas that are a no-go zone for police, a dismantling of organised crime structures, as well as equipping police with resources and training to avoid cop killings.