She is one of the first to be appointed in this post and is ready and excited to take on the task ahead.
Brigadier Mmagauta Letsoalo has formally taken up her position as deputy cluster commander serving with Major-General Abraham Goss in the Mitchell’s Plain policing cluster.
The policing cluster includes eight stations: Mitchell’s Plain, Lentegeur, Strandfontein, Grassy Park, Lansdowne, Steenberg, Athlone and Philippi.
Her appointment, and that of other deputy cluster commanders, comes with the conceptualisation of the new cluster models which were implemented last year (“Police station reshuffle”, People’s Post, 30 April 2015).
“I am so happy and excited to be here,” she says about her appointment, which was officially implemented on Thursday 23 June.
Her passion and drive are evident in the way she describes her vision to take the station forward.
“I want the Mitchell’s Plain cluster to be the best cluster in everything,” she says.
“Crime must really fall [in the cluster] and it will only fall with the assistance of the community at large. The police alone will never be able to do it.”
She says it is important that the police build relationships with the community to the point where a mutual trust is built.
Letsoalo brings with her a wealth of experience – both in a training capacity as well as a station commander.
She began her career with the police service in 1987 in Pretoria, where she is from, and continued as a training instructor at the police college until 1992 when she decided she wanted to be on the ground in active duty.
“I knew the theory and I was in training for a long time. I wanted to do work on the ground,” she says.
She was quickly promoted through the ranks moving to several police stations in Pretoria, fulfilling various roles and duties.
In the early 2000s she was promoted to the rank of captain and returned to the training college on a national level working with station commanders from practically all police stations in the country.
“This is when my interest in becoming a station commander really started,” she says.
She applied to serve as a station commander in the Northern Cape and was successful. With this she was also promoted to superintendent, now known as a lieutenant-colonel.
Here she served for four years before the provincial commissioner asked her to move to a problematic station in the Northern Cape.
Her career led her to Vredendal and Gugulethu stations before her appointment as the deputy cluster commander.
She says she mostly wants to be a helping hand to Goss in managing the eight police stations.
“What excites me most about this job is that I will share my knowledge with other station commanders in the cluster, because I know that I am knowledgeable as a station commander,” says Letsoalo.
She adds she is excited about the guidance and working with Goss who she says “knows what he is doing”.
She enjoys being a hands-on leader and says she will continue this in her new role.
“I manage by walking around, but not just wandering. I do it because I want to know what is happening. I don’t only check the police – I also need to check what the criminals are saying,” she says.
“I want to interact with people. I don’t just want to be a gogga with a big rank.”