I won't bow to political pressure - Khehla Sitole

New police chief says role of minister is policy and strategic direction

'I won't bow to political pressure', vows new police commissioner

Pretoria - Newly-appointed national police commissioner General Khehla Sitole said he would not bow to political pressure or interference as it was his duty to protect the integrity of the South African Police Service.

Police Minister Fikile Mbalula introduced the new national commissioner in Pretoria on Thursday.

Sitole outlined his vision for SAPS and made it clear that there would be no political interference as he executed his vision.

"Firstly let me start by saying, it is my responsibility to orientate the minister on all operational policies that govern the police," Sitole said.

The general added that, if he was ever put in a position which required him to do something that was outside of operational policies, he would defend the policy against the police minister, but first opt for a more proactive approach.

"The role of the minister is policy and strategic direction and my role as commander of the police is execution of policing and these are two roles that have got no confusion."

Sitole, as part of his vision for policing in South Africa, included a clampdown on gangsterism, reclaiming crime-infested areas that are seen as a no-go zone for police, a dismantling of organised crime structures, as well as equipping police with resources and training to avoid cop killings.

He vowed there would be a strenuous focus on creating a safe South Africa for its citizens and to allow investors peace of mind.

Sitole succeeds former acting national commissioner Lieutenant-General Lesetja Mothiba and is the first permanent police commissioner to be appointed since 2013.

Mbalula said he could now announce that he and Mothiba "had a very, very not so nice relationship".

He said "we differed with General Mothiba on something that is called directives", which Mbalula would discuss and give to him, but which he would not implement.

In the same breath, without pointing his finger at Mothiba, Mbalula slammed "police generals" for leaking documents of "secret meetings" of crime intelligence to EWN. He described the leaks as anarchy.

"I will never respect such people. It's like a police officer who has decided to be a criminal, to be rogue."

Mbalula, who welcomed Sitole, said that the general was a seasoned member of the police force with over two decades of experience and added that he had grown through the ranks, serving at every level.

"I'm very happy with Sitole ... with the outline of his vision and [I] look forward to working with him," said Mbalula.

"General Sitole is going to lead us to stability and intensify and unite our police."