Phiyega wants to boost police image

2012-06-14 22:45

Pretoria - Newly-appointed police chief Mangwashi Phiyega on Thursday said she wanted to build a positive image for the SA Police Service (SAPS).

"It's a process... it's a journey [that will] allow us to take some Red Bull [energy drink] so we can go on with the process," Phiyega told reporters in Pretoria.

"I am ready to come serve."

Phiyega said she wanted South Africans to have confidence in the police, trust them and feel safe.
She said she acknowledged the overwhelming task she faced.

"In order to succeed, I acknowledge that it is necessary to consult, listen and learn."

This would be complemented by leading and acting decisively, she said.

"We will be working towards a paradigm shift in the police. The training and development of our members will remain a priority... Strengthening the administrative leg will also be top on the agenda," she said.

In answer to questions regarding the allegations of political interference within the police, Phiyega said it was an issue which needed to be debated.

"If there is merit or no merit [to allegations of political interference], for me the jury is still out," Phiyega told reporters in Pretoria.

"Are we confused about issues of political interference?" she asked.

Phiyega said it was a case of political interference versus political involvement.

"You get the political side of the police."

She said those on the political side of the police were elected by the people of South Africa.

It needed to be debated whether political involvement was getting confused with political interference.

"With experience, I will give a better interpretation," said Phiyega.

Tackling corruption

Tackling corruption was high on her priority list.

"There is corruption in the system... something needs to be done."

She said it was "everywhere".

Over the next three months Phiyega would hold discussions with many police officers.

"We will be working towards a paradigm shift in the police. The training and development of our members will remain a priority... Strengthening the administrative leg will also be top on the agenda," she said.

Improving internal and external relations in the interest of service delivery, and taking a decisive position on corruption, were priorities.

Phiyega said she would meet police senior management on Friday, but would not give details on the strategies going forward.

"I am looking forward to wearing the blue uniform, taking my oath and getting involved with the business of policing."

Phiyega is the first woman national police commissioner in the 99 years of the SA police's history. Women first joined the police force in 1972.


But concerns still remain about her lack of policing experience, and that she may not connect with what her predecessor Bheki Cele refers to as the "foot soldiers".

Although Phiyega had a strong background in administration, Cele said the job of police commissioner had little to do with administration and more to do with the work on the ground - "being in the trenches with the men and women in blue".

"Work with the generals but make sure you work most with your foot soldiers," he advised her during a news conference on Wednesday.

"Take care of the foot soldiers - they are the people fighting crime."

Despite saying that she heard Cele's message clearly, knowing that this was what had made him successful, she appeared to have difficulty adjusting - verbally at least - to her new role.

Her comments were laden with management-speak about "strategic directions", "stakeholders" and "paradigm shifts".

"We believe that human capital investment adds value," she said, commenting about police training.

"The fact that she is a woman is not a problem. My concern is with her lack of experience with the police as an organisation and policing as a function," Johan Burger of the Pretoria-based Institute for Security Studies told Reuters.

"She is going to find it extremely difficult to come into an organisation that is already fraught with so many problems," he said.

But, Phiyega seemed unperturbed about concerns about her policing experience.

"I've never been a police [officer], but I want to say that you don't need to be a drunkard to own a bottle store.

"I can learn... judge me in 12 months time on whether I have a poor learning capacity."

Phiyega acknowledged she did not have all the tools necessary for the job, but said she brought a wealth of other experiences.

"No one is ever complete, but we all have something to give and I believe I have something to give."

Asked how she felt about a police union saying it was an insult that a civilian was appointed as a police commissioner, Phiyega said she was not qualified to deal with that.

However, she added: "I'm prepared to work with anyone who will accept me."

Just another politician

As an outsider, she has the benefit of not being part of internecine police struggles, the most recent being the on-again, off-again suspension of crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli, Reuters reports.

However, as an outsider she is also treading in two sets of heavily tainted footsteps in Cele and his predecessor Jackie Selebi.

"This one - she is just another politician," one warrant officer at a Johannesburg police station told Reuters, with a dismissive wave of his hand.

While promoting an insider would have been better for police morale - and probably efficiency - it would have run against the grain of an ANC leadership increasingly reluctant to cede control in any sphere of public life.

"She's clean and cannot help but bring a new perspective to the post, but the hope the ANC would not make a political appointment to this position was always destined to end in disappointment," said political analyst Nic Borain.

"The ANC, especially Zuma's ANC, is very careful to keep its hand on what used to be called the 'repressive state apparatus'."

  • Jellyarse - 2012-06-14 20:33

    Power, pay, self respect, community respect, vehicles, training, support and tools to do their job - those would be a good start!

      Squeegee - 2012-06-14 20:36

      Fixing their image may well be more difficult than fighting crime...

      Carl - 2012-06-14 20:43

      How about fitness programs too!

      Sean - 2012-06-15 01:17

      I like her , but it will be bloody difficult !! Most of the criminals are in the SAPS and Government !!!

      Warren - 2012-06-15 04:01

      @ Squeegee. Fix crime and their image would inevitably improve. In fact, it's probably the only way to do it. It's also the primary function of a Police-Chief and under the current lawless environment anyone in that position should be working tirelessly to prevent crime, not some feel-good propaganda campaign to create a false sense of well-being. No amount of spin doctery will hide the reality on the ground. I do however think someone in that position should have worked their way up the ranks and until that happens Police-chiefs will continue to disappoint.

      Werner - 2012-06-15 06:25

      I'm willing to bet my house that she already busy organising tenders for her self, her brothers, her sisters, her cousins etc to get rich. Please prove me wrong. It would be amazing to have a department head that wants to be servant to our country rather than getting rich quick.

      carpejugulim - 2012-06-15 06:35

      @ Gollum as beneficial as it would be to have someone that has worked their way up the ranks put into the position it just isn't going to happen for a long time yet but it doesn't stop the person making the effort of having a long and careful look from the ground up and then making decisions and acting accordingly. Even with someone that has worked their way through the ranks there are people holding positions they are not fit to be in.

      gert.grobler.94 - 2012-06-15 06:52

      @Sean--that is why she was chosen-she won't make heads or tails and these guys are safe then--they will tell her WHAT TO DO...ha ha

      aubrey.benjamin1 - 2012-06-15 07:55

      To add on that when a man goes to Police Station to lay a Charge against his wife or girlfriend they must stop laughing we are all in one home. And call back all those who retired from the Police Force to work with these young Officers not because they dont perform to work hand in hand is very good But those who get paid from the street Bopha yena.

      Tsotsi-Baby - 2012-06-15 08:51

      best place to start is to throw 80 % of the cops into prison and get new "true" cops that have morals, are ready to serve the citizens of our "once" great country

      sabongam - 2012-06-15 11:14

      @ Werner - you see that's the problem right. The lady has hardly been in the position for 72 hours and already you're predicting doom and gloom about tenders. Why? Can't you at least say, it's a good thing we have a new commissioner let's hope things will improve and be positive that she does a good job? If you're so pessimistic from the on-set don't you think that those are the kind of results you'll get? Be careful what you wish for, it might come true. Come on now, is being negative going to solve anything about our country. As they say it all starts in the mind. Tell you what, why don't you get yourself a prescription of Prozac maybe it could do wonders for your depressed state.

  • Avesh Athmanand - 2012-06-14 20:36

    OH yeah lovely more females in power, this is a positive way forward !!! God is finally gonna bless South Africa, Amen !!!

      goyougoodthing - 2012-06-14 21:00

      Who is god and what do imaginary friends have to do with crime?

  • bambanani.mdzimba - 2012-06-14 20:42

    goodluck,i am certain you will do agood job,we ll support you all the way,never allow political interference.

  • sandy.langenstrass - 2012-06-14 20:43

    You know Phiyega, I think you deserve to be given a chance....most women are good at multi tasking...this will be a huge job to take on....hope you instill respect and discipline...and most of all get the force gaining back the peoples trust again....SO.GOOD ..LUCK..YOU..NEED ..IT !!!!!..*****

      Schmee - 2012-06-15 07:18

      I'm positive she can do it. Her background is perfect for the job. And she isn't tainted by the police image.

  • Brian Heunis - 2012-06-14 20:54

    Chest in, stomach out!

  • ec.van.niekerk - 2012-06-14 21:31

    and whats that going to cost us the tax payers ...?

      John - 2012-06-15 03:12

      If she manages to do all she says about the "corruption every where" it might be an eventual saving to the taxpayer. My biggest worry is that if she starts hurting the corrupt powers, by exposing them, how long will it take before they "transfer" her to a less damaging position? Get my drift? Madam I wish you all the best, become the Iron Lady of SA, good luck!

      michel.pieterse - 2012-06-15 04:40

      Thats a stupid stupid comment EC

      Martin - 2012-06-15 10:04

      john b, i agree, she was shoved in the position with urgency after the acting(and honestly best police general)broke rank, refused political intimidation and "orders" and suspended mdluli,,,that man should be in this position..but that said, lets see what she can do, i wish her all my best..

  • jones.mkandawire - 2012-06-14 21:42

    The source of strength , pillar and rock African woman by definition and description. I have no doubt, despite circumstances and detractors evilsh and envious proclaimations, you will stir the ship home

  • JohncarlosBiza - 2012-06-14 23:00

    not with the way she looks :P

  • richard.theunissen.102 - 2012-06-14 23:07

    You dont need to boost the police image, you need to RESTORE it...

  • rezo.mosepele - 2012-06-14 23:12

    Let's get the job done first please, the interviews n extensive media coverage will follow later. Bheki n Jackie were all full of energy and ready to take on the world of crime, LOOK AT THEM NOW

      Thando Tdoz Kubheka - 2012-06-15 04:21

      Just give the lady a chance then you are welcome to mourn and curse her if you have seen her work right now lets all wait... welcome lady commissioner kick some fraud corrupt butts

      rezo.mosepele - 2012-06-15 07:02

      I am not mournig nor coursing her, I'm just saying let's put in some work first and the paparazi later. Don't get me wrong I am not undermining the new police chief

  • lownabester - 2012-06-14 23:33

    There are thousands of pale skin well educated ex police-men that would be happy go get back to work in an corrupt free force.

      Ted - 2012-06-15 02:22

      Are u in any way saying she is uneducated?

      lownabester - 2012-06-15 05:26

      No Ted, WhatI am saying is that she can do with well trained ex white policemen that left because of all the corrution.

      nhlakaniphog1 - 2012-06-15 06:29

      South Africa need pale police who was very good in enforcing apartheid and killed ANC and PAC activists. Though the pale police were killers but it was better than these black corrupt women and women in blue. All blacks are corrupt can never be trusted to enforce laws.

      Goboza Mashaba - 2012-06-15 06:50

      @nhlakanipho thats the most stupid comment i've ever heared. Enforcing apartheid got nothing to do with policing. it was a system or strategy which any stupid person can do under command, especially with the power and authority they were given to destroy black people. That does not even require police training, they just needed to be rude, full of hate and racist to do the job.

      Schmee - 2012-06-15 07:57

      WTF are you being sarcastic Nhlakanipho. How can you as a black person generalise like that? Firstly if you really want to generalise, I think there are far more corrupt black men than corrupt black women. But there is corruption in all sectors of society not just with black people. However there are far more black people in this country so yes we hear about more corrupt black people. And were you alive pre-1994. I'm pretty sure you wouldn't want the persecution back. I’m not saying that white police are still like that but it seems that you are wishing that lot back.

      Martin - 2012-06-15 10:13

      nhlakaniphog1, those apartheid regime "white cops" followed orders, the new police force cant even respect their oath to serve and protect., the old cops protected and served against what they were told was the threat, just like in the new sa, those old cops would stand by their new oath, and do their jobs properly. even if corrupt people end up unemployed to make room for a couple good minority policemen, we will benefit,

      Martin - 2012-06-15 10:22

      and adding to my previous comment, i agree, like alot of cops, power drunk, some did abuse their power, some not, we need to single out those "some not of all race and fire the remainder "

  • neo.moate - 2012-06-15 00:10

    You seem to talk the talk, Madam Commissioner, but can you run the marathon?!\r\nThey've all been there and showed us, in 3D presentation nogal, how they intend on improve SA. Where are they know?\r\nShould we hold our breath, might be a quick post for you?

      Sean - 2012-06-15 01:26

      Very true , let`s hope and see !!

  • bob.small.7547 - 2012-06-15 00:15

    Mangwashi Phiyega you are already wallowing with wada wada…! I don’t think you are up for the job! You childish rhetoric about not having to be a drunkard to own a bottle store does not exactly cut the chase for a position as important as that which you have been placed in…!

      Nompumelelo - 2012-06-15 07:45

      Had some discomfort with a few analogies used as well Bob... Maybe it was premature to go public ... Some seriour PR needed there! I may be wrong though but only time will tell.

      stefan.vanderspuy - 2012-06-15 11:14

      What an analogy!! You don't have to be a chef to own a restaurant, that sorta makes more sense - just an example. Was that the best she could come up with?

  • dumisani.mbense - 2012-06-15 00:28

    we wellcome the new national comm .Bheki Cele will be missed the only political appointee who understood the police language

  • Ted - 2012-06-15 02:18

    Extreme Makeover. SAPS Edition!

      Tiaan Liebenberg - 2012-06-15 05:42

      Fashion Police

  • maseratifittipaldi - 2012-06-15 06:45

    The people of S.A. expect the SAPS to serve and protect them. Just get this right. Cut out the politics. We don't need that. This is where the problem lies : In the ANC everything is only about the ANC. Anyone who does not play ball, loses the job.

  • Poaul Zwarts - 2012-06-15 06:49

    Red Bull is illegal in some Europian countries, so yes, it will take some illegal activity, if that is what you are saying...

      ratsaka.eugene - 2012-06-15 06:54

      Dude, u r not in Europe! Shut the hell up.

      poaul - 2012-06-15 11:14

      Thumbs down if you don't understand the joke...

  • Vince.York - 2012-06-15 06:54

    Politics between the sheets! Failed gambit to become an additional wifey? Clowns building the circus?

      ratsaka.eugene - 2012-06-15 06:57

      You're an ignorant vler-muis.

      Schmee - 2012-06-15 07:14

      You know what Vince. Clearly you are really old but not very wise if you think a woman can't make it in the world on her own. You are pathetically sexist. Go crawl back into your cave.

      Gavin - 2012-06-15 07:28


      philip.venter1 - 2012-06-15 12:23

      We are raised to respect our elders, but the older and wiser I get the more difficult it becomes follow that principle. The only thing I have learned from elder people is that most of them are extremely narrow minded, biased, prejudiced, filled with dogma and completely detached from modern society and you, Mister Vince York have just lived up to that generalization.

  • bev.whittaker.7 - 2012-06-15 06:58

    Somebody should send her a copy of all the Blue Blood video series - THAT is how a Comissioner should act!

  • Schmee - 2012-06-15 06:59

    Red bull? I wonder how much they paid for that advertising :P Well I hope she gets it right. I'm sure with her background of social work and having been a business women she will make it happen.

  • hengu.willemse - 2012-06-15 06:59

    Good Luck commissioner we all hope you succeed! it is in all our interests that you do, regardless of race or creed. My prayers and best wishes to you on this epic journey!

      peter.t.solomon - 2012-06-15 07:17

      Well said Willemse, very well said. Lets have hope.

  • Tiaan Liebenberg - 2012-06-15 07:01

    I'm sure JZ has left the door open . . .

  • Tiaan Liebenberg - 2012-06-15 07:03

    @vince.york - Sure that he did

      Schmee - 2012-06-15 07:35

      If you are agreeing with him then you should just join him in his cave.

      Tiaan Liebenberg - 2012-06-15 07:57

      @schmee??? - Ag shame, its difficult né?

  • raymond.abrahamse - 2012-06-15 07:11

    I hope she kicks some back sides amd shake up some lazy sleeping policemen.Must it take a woman to succeed where men failed?

      Schmee - 2012-06-15 07:40

      Yip, it's happened in a few government institutions already. I can't believe how clean and efficient the Home Affairs office in Pietermaritzburg is. There used to be queues out the door down the street. Now all the counters are open and everyone is doing their work. I'm pretty sure it has something to do with Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

  • Andre - 2012-06-15 07:18

    We have to support her. She will have to be unpopular in order to be successful!

      John - 2012-06-15 10:48

      Absolutely, support her and lets see. I still worry about the possibility that if she makes good on her "corruption everywhere" remarks, that she doesn't upset the hierarchy when she fingers them. All that will happen is another Zipper Shuffle. One other point comes to mind, black Africans usually don't respect women who are in charge. Will there be animosity towards her by the black men and women in blue? (No racialism intended)

  • Gavin - 2012-06-15 07:33

    She will do well. South africans have some faith in our leaders. Our country is where it Is today Because of them.

  • Chumscrubber1 - 2012-06-15 07:42

    I wish this lady the best of luck. It makes it an extremely difficult task when he predessessors have allowed things to get so bad. I'd start with simple things like ensuring the charge office phone is answered properly, the office is clean and pictures on the walls straight. The charge office is our first stop, and currently is not something that earns any respect. We are treated like dirt by the people manning these offices, and by that I mean all races - start fixing the problem there and there will already be a big improvement.

  • margaux.doeebrahim - 2012-06-15 07:42

    wanna fix it? get rid of all the rubbish in saps. lets face it there are quite a few.

  • gert.grobler.94 - 2012-06-15 07:43

    "I've never been a police [officer], but I want to say that you don't need to be a drunkard to own a bottle store," Phiyega told reporters. She has already damaged the image of the police force with this pathetic statement right at the start. I see what she said as to be a police force that is like a bottle store and they are all drunkards in there and that she is Not a drunkard and she will own this bottle store. Fire her now---Please !!!

  • Chumscrubber1 - 2012-06-15 07:46

    Next deal with Popcru, an organisation that teaches its members to have no pride, to be lazy and make unfair demands. It teaches its members to have no self respect, or respect for the people they are meant to protect. Deal with this nation destroying organisation, it is almost as bad as Sadtu. (Sadtu is worse as it destroys the futures of our countries children)

      Schmee - 2012-06-15 08:05

      You read what she said: "I'm prepared to work with anyone who will accept me." Popcru is not accepting her. Hope she sorts them out like Maggie Thatcher did with the Unions when she was in power.

  • vicky.vangemert - 2012-06-15 07:57

    Drunks don't own liquor stores. BUt the liquor store owner knows his product. That is the question being asked.

  • Phumi - 2012-06-15 08:01

    General Cele was the image boost the police needed not a social worker!

  • gert.grobler.94 - 2012-06-15 08:16

    Zuma made a bad political mistake here -he told the police force by his action that the top commanders can't be trusted for this important job. and those that said they support her is forced to say so as to keep there jobs, but mark my words, when Zuma might be calling for loyalty at a critical time, these insulted commanders will think twice before aiding him. The IMAGE of the police force was severely tarnished by his action and then he appoints a rooky that will have to beg her workers to help her with stupid small things because she doesn't know. He has damaged the image and the loyalty of police and we need that loyalty in this crime infested hellhole. He has weakened the police force and she won't be able to fix that.

      Gavin - 2012-06-15 08:29

      if SA such a hellhole. Why not go back to whatever country you originate from.

      gert.grobler.94 - 2012-06-15 08:30

      The second in command that should have been the first in command will have to do all her work for the first 5 years at least. He must be really feeling like a paper boy being used and some one else gets his salary. Shame--he will probably have to resign or keep his mouth shut and eat the dirt.

      gert.grobler.94 - 2012-06-15 08:46

      Gavin-has your family been attacked yet?--it doesn't look like that. Has your tax money mysteriously vanished on strange projects -it doesnt look like that--do you read the papers--it doesn't look like that. But show me your crime free SA. If you are attacked in your home and your wife is raped in front of you and the kids and you are shot and left for dead--you are in a hellhole then. Fix this hellhole in the right way --yes try it.

      Bless Boswell - 2012-06-15 08:49

      Just give her a chance.

      Gavin - 2012-06-15 08:54

      Yes if you say it is the way it is. So leave. South africa is a beautiful country. Yes we do have criminals but which country doesn't. And for your information I have been mugged and hijacked but I still love SA. And it isn't a hellhole. Beautiful South Africa

      Bless Boswell - 2012-06-15 08:57

      Forgive me Gert, it was meant for Gavin.

  • hendrik.baird - 2012-06-15 08:34

    I met Mme Phiyega many years ago when she was at Transnet and I have only the highest respect for her. I know she will succeed!

      gert.grobler.94 - 2012-06-15 09:11

      Did you make her tea for her?--maybe we must ask Trevor Manual's wife for a true evaluation and assessment.--They worked together

  • ali.denewade - 2012-06-15 09:01

    I have confidence in our newly-appointed police chief Mangwashi Phiyega. Regarding her experience background we're singing about, I believe that we need to try an administrator out since the "foot soldiers" failed -- let the soldiers fight in the battle field; let the administrator fight in office, that's structure, there's no confusion there. I think she will do an excellent job.

  • oupa.tjale - 2012-06-15 09:41

    Never been a police officer but says she is ready to wear blue uniform!\r\nShe does'nt even know Radio Communication and Police alphabet. A-alpha to Z-zulu!

  • witwolf.digter - 2012-06-15 10:35

    Very funny how they just seem to get the job with no experience. How many of us have been looking for work, found something we think would do, but then see they want a person with X years experience. You will not even be considered if you do not have the required experience. I will be amazed if she pulls this off. I will not be amazed if she is also suspended or shuffled within the next year.

  • witwolf.digter - 2012-06-15 10:35

    Very funny how they just seem to get the job with no experience. How many of us have been looking for work, found something we think would do, but then see they want a person with X years experience. You will not even be considered if you do not have the required experience. I will be amazed if she pulls this off. I will not be amazed if she is also suspended or shuffled within the next year.

  • nzwaki.geleba - 2012-06-15 11:04

    \Paradigm Shift\ won't get u a buy in from those you command. Ofcourse if this is a perceptions exercise being a woman and having extensive Administrative background will get u there. But a turn around of the service will require a peoplecentric approach. U might need to share a drink wth ur force

  • Jacqui - 2012-06-15 12:17

    Boost their image!!!!. That's easily done, give them all pink slippers.

  • dccouper - 2012-06-15 22:29

    Improving the image of police is a difficult, not impossible job. But when you talk about improving police you must identify the goal -- what do an improved police look like? In my new book, "Arrested Development: A Veteran Police Chief Sounds Off About Protest, Racism, Corruption and the Seven Steps Necessary to Improve Our Nation’s Police" I provide the answers. Citizens and their police need to read this book and visit my blog at When we talk about a democratic police it doesn't make any difference as to the country, but rather to the task of assuring and mentoring the values of the country in which police work.

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