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Inauguration Speech by National Commissioner George Fivaz on 29 January 1995

Mr President, Mr Minister, ladies and gentlemen of the media.

It is not my intention to make a comprehensive statement today. However, it is necessary to react to the announcement of the President and it is also important to highlight a number of essential issues.

Allow me to first and foremost thank the President, the Minister for Safety and Security and the Government of National Unity for their confidence and trust. My appointment by the President as the first National Commissioner of the new South African Police Service(SAPS) is accepted with pride and a promise of total commitment towards a most challenging task and responsibility. It is indeed a great honour to be part of the management of a process that is so essential for the reconstruction and development of our country.

I underline what the President has said and would like to reiterate my total commitment towards the creation of an acceptable police service for all the peoples living in our beloved country.

Soon after accepting the appointment I decided, in consultation with the Minister for Safety and Security, to appoint four Deputy National Commissioners. Their purpose would be to support the National Commissioner, but more importantly, to form with the National Commissioner a unified management team for the South African Police Service.

The career profiles of these four persons indicate their dedication and expertise in various fields of policing. All four have the ability, the necessary skills and the competency to contribute towards the establishment of an acceptable police service for the country. Over and above this, these officers reflect the population we as a police service must and will serve.

It is my privilege to now announce their names and to appoint them as the Deputy National Commissioners for the SA Police Service:

They are (not in any specific order):

Deputy National Commissioner Morgan Chetty

Deputy National Commissioner Zolisa Lavisa

Deputy National Commissioner Mike Bester

Deputy National Commissioner John Manuel

I want to thank the Deputies for accepting their appointments. I have confidence in your loyalty and ability.

One would be naive to think that the responsibility and task of the new management team would be without obstacles or challenges. I am convinced that we as a team share the vision to create a safe and secure environment. Various crucial policing issues, all of national importance, must be addressed as a matter of extreme urgency. These are:

  • The SAPS must in conjunction with all role players develop improved methods to curb crime and to improve the level of Safety and Security in South Africa.

  • The legitimacy and acceptability of the SAPS must be addressed and the SAPS must make a clean and definite break with the past.

  • The improvement of police/community relations is of vital importance, as is the removal of all forms of racism and other discrimination including that based on gender.

  • The amalgamation and rationalization of the existing eleven police agencies into an integrated SAPS.

  • The transformation of the police forces which includes the adoption of a new mindset

  • The discipline and morale of the SAPS must be restored and improved at all costs.

  • The establishment of a culture of fundamental rights within the SAPS is essential.

The four deputies and I are committed to a consultative and participative style of management - a management style that we will strive to characterize with transparency, accountability and commitment to the values enshrined in the Constitution.

In conclusion I would like to send a very special message to the members on the ground. The management team has the fullest confidence in the future and is committed to improve your working conditions. We need your support. We wish to stress again that no member of the SAPS has anything to fear and can look forward to a bright future. Together we will make the difference.

A more detailed media briefing at which questions would be answered will be held on Monday, 30 January, at 15:00 at the Conference Room on the fifth floor of Wachthuis, Pretoria.

The four Deputy National Commissioners and I will then elaborate and expand on our stated objectives as well as introduce ourselves to the community and members of the SA Police Service more comprehensively.