President Cyril Ramaphosa has appointed General Sehlahle Fannie Masemola as South Africa’s new National Commissioner of Police.
Masemola replaces General Khehla Sitole, whose tenure came to an end prematurely on Thursday (31 March) by mutual agreement with Ramaphosa.
Sehlahle Fannie Masemola appointed National Police Commissioner
In a televised address to the nation on Thursday, Ramaphosa said Masemola has been a Deputy Police Commissioner “with an outstanding record of achievements in policing across South Africa.”
“This includes helping with the de-escalation of violence in KwaZulu-Natal after our first democratic elections in 1994. General Masemola also brings to this position his experience in drastically reducing cash-in-transit crimes in the period around 2016,” the President said.
“General Masemola played a leading role in coordinating security for all elections since and including 1994. And he led the securing of major national and international events in our country, including United Nations Summits, Climate Conferences and the 2010 FIFA World Cup.”
The appointment follows a competitive selection process that involved an advisory panel appointed by Ramaphosa. The panel, which was chaired by National Security Advisor Sydney Mufamadi and included Police Minister Bheki Cele, considered 24 candidates and interviewed five shortlisted candidates.
The Ministry of Police welcomed Masemola’s appointment in a statement issued soon after Ramaphosa’s announcement.
“The Ministry is hopeful this appointment, which marks a new chapter in the life of the South African Police Service (SAPS), will further strengthen the existing efforts within the police service to safeguard South Africans and all those who live within our boarders along with their property,” Cele’s spokesperson Lirandzu Themba said.
“Police Minister, General Bheki Cele together with his Deputy, Cassel Mathale, have congratulated the incoming National Commissioner who will lead the SAPS from the start of April.”
EFF leader Julius Malema also congratulated Masemola on his appointment – but warned him “to be aware of Bheki Cele.”
“We don’t doubt your capacity, but please be aware of Bheki Cele; he will do everything in his power to make sure you fail. Please don’t take his illegal instructions; your mandate is to fight crime, nothing else,” he tweeted.
Cele and Malema recently clashed in Parliament during the State of the Nation Address debate, with Malema going as far as urging Ramaphosa to fire Cele from the Cabinet.
For his part, Cele accused Malema of plotting with outgoing Commissioner Sitole to have him fired. Both Malema and Sitole strenuously denied the allegation.