As the country celebrates Women’s Month, Parliament has approved the appointment of the new executive director of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid), Jennifer Ntlatseng – the first woman to occupy this position.
The 49-year-old’s appointment comes after the National Assembly last month approved her nomination by Police Minister Bheki Cele to the Parliament’s portfolio committee on police after she emerged as his preferred candidate for the position.
Ntlatseng, who brings 20 years of experience in the criminal justice system and community policing, started her career as an administrator in the Gauteng provincial department of community safety.
The Soweto-born mother of two served as an assistant director in youth crime prevention in the Gauteng department of community safety from 2001 to 2004. She became the deputy director in community police relations for a year, before being promoted to director of the same unit – a position she held until 2017.
Cele welcomed Ntlatseng’s appointment and wished her well.
“The role of the Ipid is a very important one for us the as the SA Police Service (SAPS) and we hope the directorate remains a corrective body and not a punitive one for our members,” he said.
Cele said he was confident that Ntlatseng’s appointment would bring much-needed stability to the organisation.
“Ntlatseng’s appointment couldn’t have come at a better time as the country marks Women’s Month. Government is improving gender representation by appointing more women in positions of power as heads of institutions and in senior management positions,” he said.
Ntlatseng, who replaces Robert McBride, said she will hit the ground running.
“I want to steer this ship in the right direction and at the same time be open and transparent while trying to rebrand Ipid to win back the confidence of the community,” she said.
One of the cases in her in-tray will be dealing with allegations of violence and police brutality during the lockdown. Members of the SAPS and the SA National Defence Force have been accused of being high-handed when dealing with the public when enforcing the lockdown restrictions. Parliament’s the portfolio committee on police demanded answers on the alleged abuse of power and heavy-handedness.
During a recent virtual sitting of the National Council of Provinces last month, Cele said that between March 27 and June 22, 49 cases of police brutality had been reported.
“Of the investigations, 36 were so far finalised. Of that 36 cases, 20 were found to be valid charges and one resulted in disciplinary action against an officer. No criminal charges have been instituted in any of the matters that were finalised,” Cele said at the time.
“We have structures internally and there is also the Ipid that oversees the actions of the police. We subject ourselves to all these processes and we listen to other people regarding our action.”
McBride was appointed Ipid boss by then police minister Nathi Mthethwa in 2014. Last year, Parliament’s police committee endorsed the decision by Cele not to renew McBride’s contract as the executive director of the Ipid.