SA to get new police watchdog boss by September: Bheki Cele
South Africa will likely have a new head of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) by September this year.
This was revealed by police minister Bheki Cele in his budget speech in parliament on Thursday.
Currently, Ipid, which is tasked with investigating complaints against the South African Police Service and municipal police, is operating under the leadership of acting head Victor Senna. But Senna’s contract comes to an end at the end of July this year.
He took over from Robert McBride, who left his post after minister Bheki Cele refused to extend his contract.
Cele and McBride had entered into a public spat, which led to the latter taking the legal route to force the minister to extend his contract for another five years.
Cele came out on top after members of parliament backed him in the dispute.
Presenting his budget speech in parliament on Thursday afternoon, Cele said the process to appoint a new Ipid head was expected to be completed in September.
“This will provide Ipid the necessary stability and proper management and administration,” said Cele.
“The structural and operational independence of Ipid will always be protected and safeguarded by the ministry to allow Ipid to discharge its responsibilities without fear, favour and prejudice,” he added.
In his speech, Cele made several announcements, including a promise to expand the police’s anti-gang unit into a national unit to cover other gang-affected areas like Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape and parts of Johannesburg. Currently, the unit operates only in the Western Cape.
Cele said the unit would also attend to other serious crimes like murder, rape, hijackings and cash-in-transit heists.
“We want a national approach in fighting gangsterism,” said Cele.
He said the police also wanted to establish a detectives' academy to sharpen skills for the Hawks and other detectives.
Cele also announced the establishment of yet another firearms amnesty period.
“After this period, and you don’t bring your illegal firearm or any other firearm that may be dangerous, there won’t be peace,” said Cele.
He said the SAPS would have no mercy dealing with people with illegal firearms after the period.
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