Cele: Police must use deadly force

Police must use deadly force when under attack from “armed thugs”, Police Commissioner Bheki Cele reiterated on Thursday.

After announcing the appointments of two new provincial commissioners in Pretoria, Cele said: “Police must decisively defend themselves together with the members of the community and citizens at large when they are under attack from thugs with guns in their hands.”

Cele said the Constitution outlined that police should use deadly force and officers would be “breaking the law” if they did not take that to heart.

“I will have a serious problem with police who do not use deadly force.”

Cele conceded there were “bad policeman”, but unfortunately this was highlighted in the media more than the successes police had in fighting crime.

“I concede that there are problems that we must deal with within the police, there is no doubt about it. [The media] must hammer those that are bad but also please give a pat on the back for those that are good.”

He said in the last two financial years 1 300 police officers had been arrested for various offences, which was testament to the department’s ethos that nobody gets off “scot-free”.

When asked how many of the 1 300 had been prosecuted, Cele said: “The stats that were given to Parliament is that 50% of that number have been sentenced.”

New police commissioners for KZN, Mpumalanga
Cele on Thursday announced the appointments of Monnye Ngobeni as KwaZulu-Natal commissioner and Thulani Ntobela as Mpumalanga commissioner. He said both would “assume their duties with immediate effect”.

Ngobeni (41) had served in the police for 22 years and had performed functions on various levels in the operational and
the support environment, Cele said.

She was also academically qualified with a national diploma in police administration and a bachelor of technology in policing.

“Her appointment today [Thursday] makes her the second woman in the history of the South African Police Service to be appointed to the position of provincial commissioner,” he said to loud applause from the first woman appointee to the Northern Cape, Zukiswa Mbombo.

Cele said Ntobela (49) had served for 28 years, predominantly in the operational field. He was also academically qualified with a national diploma in police administration, had a bachelor of law degree and had been admitted as an advocate to the high court.

“Both these officers managed their respective portfolios exceptionally well and proved themselves to be competent in the execution of their policing mandate,” said Cele.

“Their overall performance unequivocally qualifies them for appointment to the posts.”

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in KwaZulu-Natal welcomed Ngobeni’s appointment, saying she had direct experience in policing and had served as the acting commissioner since 2007.

Community safety spokesperson Sizwe Mchunu said he was relieved the position had not been awarded to community safety head Yasmin Bacus.

“Serious allegations surrounding Miss Bacus’s conduct as head of department remain unanswered, while she has no experience in direct policing. Given these circumstances, the DA does not believe that she was a suitable candidate for this top position.”

He said with the festive season approaching and the soccer world cup around the corner, Ngobeni had her work cut out for her.

“The DA calls on the new commissioner to focus on a clear and effective policing strategy aimed at making our province a safe environment for the thousands of tourists expected next year, and more importantly, KwaZulu-Natal’s own citizens.”

DA community safety leader in Mpumalanga Anthony Benadie welcomed Ntobela’s appointment, albeit cautiously.

“While his appointment, by its very nature is a political one, Thulani Ntobela’s immediate task would be to restore dignity, respect and trust within the SAPS ranks in Mpumalanga.”

He said Ntobela’s biggest challenge would be to regain public confidence in the “currently tainted security force”.

Ntobela, the former deputy provincial commission in the Western Cape, was an unknown officer to the province and must adopt a no-nonsense approach.

“His appointment comes at a time when the SAPS in Mpumalanga is battling a tainted image of dishonesty and criminality within its ranks, a factor which undoubtedly counted against acting commissioner Rex Machabi,” he said.—Sapa

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