MPs give Phiyega 100 days

2012-06-20 00:00

CAPE TOWN — MPs on the police’s oversight committee yesterday handed a 10-centimetre thick file of reports and recommendations to newly appointed police commissioner Riah Phiyega.

The National Assembly’s committee on police said it would give her 100 days to find her feet before seeking a progress report.

On her first day in the job since being appointed last week, Phiyega told reporters she would take the advice to heart.

“I will absolutely work through this file. I will study all inputs on how to improve the SAPS.”

She acknowledged that her new job was “completely unexpected”.

“But I accept the responsibility with humility and I’m ready to make a difference. It’s our country and we’ve got to work together. But pray for me,” Phiyega said.

She said her initial impression was that her priorities should be the detective service, crimes against women and children and maintaining the momentum created by her predecessor, Behki Cele.

“There are good people in the SAPS and good momentum created by my predecessor. I have already met with the nine provincial commissioners and was pleasantly surprised. I came out of that and said ‘You know, there’s something to build on here’.

“The ingredients are there and it’s just how one mixes them and takes them forward.”

Acting committee chair Annelizé van Wyk (ANC) said the committee was satisfied with Phiyega’s appointment.

“We believe the police’s greatest shortcoming is poor management. Therefore, to have someone as national commissioner whose background is as a good manager is a good beginning.”

Opposition MPs and union leaders wished Phiyega well yesterday.

Democratic Alliance MP Dianne Kohler Barnard, who was among Cele’s fiercest critics, praised Phiyega’s management background.

“Her CV is impressive. It will be a welcome change to have someone at the SAPS with a deep management background. I like her. I hope I don’t change my opinion.”

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