Prayers for Phiyega
Newly appointed national police commissioner Riah Phiyega received blessings and pledges of support when she visited her church in Atteridgeville, near Pretoria, on Sunday.
The slew of well-wishes from members of the Tshwane Uniting Reformed Church left Phiyega, who was accompanied by her husband, Elias Phiyega, moist-eyed.
Phiyega was led into the building by a brass band and a group of dancing, ululating and singing church members.
The Rev Jackie Molawa welcomed her with a hug as she entered the church.
Not even the weekend's cold weather could dampen the worshippers' high spirits.
The couple were later called to the front of the church, where Molawa prayed for them as they knelt before him.
"I call upon the Lord to give you the wisdom of King Solomon to be able to make wise decisions. I also call on the Almighty to give you His divine protection," said Molawa.
After receiving the blessings, and hearing words of encouragement taken from the Bible, Phiyega took to the podium and vowed to do her job with integrity and to put the interests of others before her own.
Phiyega, who replaced the axed Bheki Cele on Tuesday last week, likened her new job to being in a David versus Goliath battle.
Phiyega occupies several leadership positions in the church, including being chairman of the women' s forum and the strategic committee. She is the second police commissioner to belong to the Uniting Reformed Church.
The first was the incarcerated Jackie Selebi, who worshipped at the Melodi ya Tshwane Uniting Reformed Church, in central Pretoria.
Selebi was suspended for taking bribes from confessed druglord Glenn Agliotti in January 2008.
Phiyega asked the congregation to sing I Surrender All .
She could not hold back her tears, which she described as "tears of joy".
"I am not crying because I am weak. I'm crying because the challenge before me is heavy and also because I am with my brothers and sisters," she said.
She said that when she was told of her appointment she could not "run away" because God had given her strength and the knowledge to do the job.
She thanked President Jacob Zuma for his "transformational leadership of giving duties to capable people".
Molawa said her appointment was not a mistake and that she had been chosen by God.
"God's timing is not our timing," he said, adding that God's assignments were often made when people least expected them.
"When God places you in a particular position, He has already unpacked his plan," he said.
"He will ensure that His appointee successfully services His people."