South Africa became an internationally-accepted democracy in 1994 when President Nelson Mandela was elected as the first President of the new South Africa, bringing the era of "apartheid" to an end. This new democratic order brought about many changes in the country and also had a substantial impact on policing. Mr Sydney Mufamadi was appointed as the first Minister for Safety and Security in the new South Africa. He was assisted by Deputy Minister Joe Matthews.
Prior to 1995, South Africa was divided into the so-called TBVC States, Self-Governing Territories and Development Regions (old South Africa). The TBVC States had independent status but were not widely recognized by the international community. The TBVC States and Self-Governing Territories were also referred to as Homelands (see map). These so-called Homelands were the following:
TBVC States: Transkei, Bophuthatswana, Venda and Ciskei
Self-Governing Territories: Gazankulu, Kangwane, Kwandebele, Kwazulu, Lebowa and Qwaqwa
Every Homeland had its own policing agency, bringing the total number of policing agencies in the country to eleven (ten homelands and the old South African Police). All eleven policing agencies had different uniforms, rank structures and conditions of service and were established under different legislation.
With the adoption of the interim Constitution in 1994, the Homelands and old development regions were abolished and integrated into a united South Africa with nine provinces. The new Constitution established a single National Police Service for South Africa under the executive command and control of a National Commissioner who is appointed by the President.
On 29 January 1995, General George Fivaz was appointed by President Nelson Mandela as the first National Commissioner of the new South African Police Service (click here for his inauguration speech). National Commissioner George Fivaz had the responsibility to first and foremost amalgamate the eleven policing agencies into a single united South African Police Service and secondly to align the new Police Service to new legislation and the process of transformation in South Africa.
South Africa held elections in 1999 and Minister Sydney Mufamadi was succeeded by Minister Steve Tshwete as Minister for Safety and Security when he was appointed in that position by the country's new President, Mr Thabo Mbeki. Mr Joe Matthews remained as Deputy Minister for Safety and Security.
National Commissioner George Fivaz's term of office expired during January 2000 and he was succeeded by National Commissioner Jackie Selebi (click here for his inauguration speech). Minister Tshwete paid tribute to National Commissioner George Fivaz and indicted that policing in South Africa had entered a new era with the appointment of National Commissioner Jackie Selebi as the second National Commissioner of the South African Police Service (click here for his official speech at the handing over of command at a special parade).
Fate dictated that Minister Steve Tshwete should depart on the eve of the anniversary of Freedom Day, our new beginning. Minister Tshwete was succeeded by Minister Charles Nqakula during May 2002.
During the Election of 2004, Deputy Minister Joe
Matthews was succeeded by Deputy Minister Susan Shabangu when she was
appointed as Deputy Minister for Safety and Security. A decade
and a half after Mr Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela has been formally elected
as the first President of a democratic South Africa, and after
President Mbeki had taken the oath of office, as the second President
of the Republic in June 1999, Mr Jacob Zuma became the fourth
President of the Republic of South Africa on 9 May 2009.
After the inauguration, President Jacob Zuma announced the appointment of a new cabinet on 10 May 2009. Mr Nathi Mthethwa was appointed as Minister of Police and Mr Fikile Mbalula as Deputy Minister of Police. As one of the priorities in his Medium Term Strategic Framework, President Zuma outlined the importance of working with all South Africans to intensify the fight against crime and corruption. He stressed the need to build cohesive, caring and sustainable communities. The name of the Ministry for Safety and Security was also changed to Ministry of Police to emphasise real operational energy in police work that will contribute to the reduction of serious and violent crimes.
President Zuma appointed Mr Bheki Hamilton Cele as Police Commissioner of the South African Police Service on 2 August 2009. Mr Cele was serving as the MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison in KwaZulu-Natal since 1994. The President expressed no doubt that National Commissionerl Cele would lead the SAPS efficiently and effectively in forging ahead to improve its capacity to fight crime. (Click here for the announcement of the new National Police Commissioner)
On 31 October 2010, President Jacob Zuma announced changes to the National Executive. These changes were guided by the mission of our government, which is to improve the quality of life for all South Africans, especially the poor, working with all our people, providing access to basic services and addressing the need to create a visible improvement in safety and security and a host of other basic needs. Deputy Minister Makhotso Magdeline Sotyu replaced Deputy Minister Mbalula, who now became the Minister of Sport and Recreation. Deputy Minister Sotyu has been involved in various Parliamentary Committee,s including the Portfolio Committees on Water and Environment as well as Police. (see media release on welcoming of deputy minister)
President Zuma appointed Lieutenant General Nhlanhla Sibusiso Mkhwanazi as Acting National Commissioner of the South African Police Service on 24 October 2011. Lieutenant General Mkhwanazi has worked in the SAPS since 1993, and was serving as Component Head: Specialized Operations before being appointed to this post.
On 12 June 2012, President Zuma announced the appointment of a new National Commissioner of the South African Police Service. The Minister of Police, Mr Nathi Mthethwa, welcomed General Mangwashi Victoria “Riah” Phiyega to the police family on behalf of all employees and said that "we will give her all the necessary support to ensure that we collectively continue to deal a blow to crime". (Click here to see media release on welcoming of new National Commissioner)
SAPS celebrates 100 years of policing in South Africa
Policing in South Africa has reached an important milestone in 2013. One hundred years of serving and protecting the citizens of South Africa.
The South African Police Service has a proud heritage and it has been a journey of making steady progress in the fight against crime.
The commemoration of the Centenary (100 years) of the South African Police Service was celebrated at Athlone Stadium, Cape Town in the Western Cape. The Minister of Police, Mr EN Mthethwa (Click here for speech) and the National Commissioner, General Riah Phiyega (Click here for speech), delivered inspirational speeches at this historical event.
President Jacob Zuma executed a Cabinet reshuffle on 31 March 2017 wherein Mr Fikile Mbalula was appointed as the new Minister of Police and Mr Bongani Mkongi as Deputy Minister of Police. Minister Mbalula previously served as the Deputy Minister of Police during 2009 and 2010. During a welcoming parade (click here for welcoming remarks) which was held on 4 April 2017, the South African Police Service welcomed the appointment of the Minister and the Deputy Minister in the Ministry and the Department of the South African Police Service. (click here for statement)
General Khehla John Sitole was appointed as the National Commissioner of the South African Police Service by the President of South Africa, his Excellency President Jacob Zuma on 22 November 2017. On 27 November 2017, the Department of Police hosted a formal parade during which the sword of command was officially bestowed on the newly appointed National Commissioner of the SAPS at the Tshwane SAPS Academy. (click here for statement)
Mr Cyril Ramaphosa was appointed as the President of South Africa following the resignation of Mr Jacob Zuma and took office following a vote of the National Assembly on 15 February 2018.
During the newly-appointed President’s cabinet reshuffle on 26 February 2018, Mr Bheki Hamilton Cele was appointed as the Minister of Police. On 9 March 2018, the South African Police Service welcomed the newly appointed Minister of Police during a parade at the Tshwane SAPS College. (Click here for welcoming remarks)
After the 2019 National Elections, President Cyril Ramaphosa was inaugurated as the sixth democratically elected President on 25 May 2019. The President announced the appointment of a new cabinet on 29 May 2019 where Gen Bheki Hamilton Cele was appointed as Minister of Police and Mr Cassel Mathale as Deputy Minister of Police.