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Newly-appointed national police commissioner Mangwashi Victoria “Riah” Phiyega will infuse renewed energy into the country's crime fighting effort, ANC Chief Whip Mathole Motshekga said on Wednesday.
“We are confident that under her able stewardship the country's crime statistics will continue decreasing as we continue to strive for safer and secure communities,” he said in a statement.
Phiyega was appointed South Africa's first woman police commissioner on Tuesday. President Jacob Zuma announced her appointment in Pretoria after “releasing” Bheki Cele from the post.
The ANC said the notion that only a trained police officer was capable of effectively leading the police service was both misguided and legally baseless.
“We reject such unhelpful and opportunistic noises.”
Motshekga also congratulated all new appointees to the national executive and wished them well in their new positions.
The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) welcomed Phiyega's appointment.
“The union notes the vast work experience which Phiyega brings into the SA Police Service as announced by Zuma,” spokeswoman Theto Mahlakoana said in a statement.
The union said it also respected Zuma’s decision to release former police commissioner Cele from his duties and noted changes made to Cabinet.
“Popcru looks forward to a fruitful working relationship with the new appointees as we work towards a total transformation of the state,” Mahlakoana said.
Phiyega currently chairs the presidential state-owned enterprises review committee and is a director at Tsa Rona Investments.
The Polokwane-born business executive previously held positions in the corporate sector, including Absa. Prior to that, she served on the boards of Transnet and the Port Management Association of Eastern and Southern Africa.
Phiyega has several tertiary qualifications in business management and social work. She is also known for her community work with women and children. – Sapa