Hawks veteran named as new Western Cape police commissioner

12 December 2019 - 14:24 By Dave Chambers
Lt-Gen Yolisa Matakata is the new Western Cape police commissioner.
Lt-Gen Yolisa Matakata is the new Western Cape police commissioner.
Image: Alaister Russell

A former acting head of the Hawks, Lt-Gen Yolisa Matakata, has been named as the new Western Cape police commissioner.

Matakata’s appointment was announced on Thursday by police minister Bheki Cele. She will take over in January at the head of a provincial police service where she was previouisly in charge of detectives.

Cele said Matakata had 34 years as a police officer, including "vast experience in the crime intelligence and serious organised crime environment".

Lt-Gen Yolisa Matakata listens as police minister Bheki Cele announces her appointment as Western Cape police commissioner at a news conference in Pretoria on December 12 2019.
Lt-Gen Yolisa Matakata listens as police minister Bheki Cele announces her appointment as Western Cape police commissioner at a news conference in Pretoria on December 12 2019.
Image: Twitter/SA Police Service

Western Cape Premier Alan Winde welcomed Matakata's appointment, saying she would bring "steadfast leadership and stability to policing in the Western Cape".

He added: "We look forward to working with Lt-Gen Matakata on improving safety in our province, and on our provincial safety plan, and trust that national government will give her the support required to effectively lead the police in our province.

"The Western Cape cabinet was consulted as part of the appointment process, and we agreed to and welcome the outcome."

Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz said he looked forward to working closely with Matakata.

"We also look forward to a new era in terms of cooperation in this space, and hope finally to see the regular delivery of crime statistics as is legislated for in our Community Safety Act, as well as improvements in police service delivery and response times.” 

The Western Cape has been without a permanent police commissioner since Lt-Gen Khombinkosi Jula, 55, was transferred to KwaZulu-Natal on August 1.

National commissioner Gen Khehla Sitole said on July 29 that Lt-Gen Sindile Mfazi would be acting commissioner until a replacement was appointed before the end of August.

But Sitole restarted the selection process and public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane launched an investigation after Maj-Gen Jeremy Vearey, the province’s head of detectives, lodged an official complaint when he did not make the shortlist.

In 2017, Matakata temporarily replaced Berning Ntlemeza as head of the Hawks after a high court ruling that he had lied under oath and lacked integrity. She held the position for just over a year until Godfrey Lebeya was appointed in May 2018.

The former Western Cape head of the Hawks then returned to her role as deputy national commissioner of the elite crime-fighting unit.

Cele also announced the appointment of Lt-Gen Moeketsi Sempe as national head of visible policing; Lt-Gen Baile Motswanyane as Free State commissioner; and Lt-Gen Sello Kwena as North West commissioner.


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