SAPS: Why do National Commissioners never finish their terms?

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General Khehla Sitole has joined the list of former National Commissioners who never finished their terms at the helm of the South African Police Services.

The Presidency announced that Sitole’s contract was terminated by mutual consent, on Friday, 25 February. 

WHY NATIONAL COMMISSIONERS NEVER FINISH THEIR TERMS

During his State of the Nation Address earlier in February, Ramaphosa said there would be “leadership changes” in the security agencies.

The president had already asked Sitole to provide reasons why he should not face an inquiry into his fitness to hold office.

According to a statement issued by the Presidency, the termination comes into effect from 31 March 2022. Ramaphosa said he and the commissioner agreed that the termination is in the best interest of South Africa.

African Transformation Movement (ATM) leader, Vuyo Zungula said the lack of stability in the police is a factor in how South Africa is losing the fight against crime. 

“These narrow political pressures and factions of the ruling party are making it difficult for Commissioners to do their work,” Zungula said.

Here are some of the National Commissioners who were suspended:

Jackie Selebi – He was appointed national police commissioner in February 2000. In 2010 he was sentenced to 15 years in jail for taking bribes from drug dealer Glenn Agliotti.

Bheki Cele – The current Minister of Police was appointed by then president Jacob Zuma to serve as commissioner between 2009 and 2011 but was suspended following corruption allegations.

Riah Phiyega –  She was appointed in 2012 and was suspended by then president, Jacob Zuma in October 2015, following the findings of the commission of inquiry into the Marikana tragedy. 

Khomotso Phahlane – The former acting National Commissioner was fired in July 2020 after he was found guilty of elements of dishonesty.

ALSO READ: Ramaphosa terminates police commissioner Khehla Sitole’s contract

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