Gauteng Premier David Makhura at the Mamelodi East police station where Lieutenant-general Elias Mawela was announced the new police commissioner of Gauteng. Picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency/ANA
Pretoria - Premier David Makhura on Wednesday pulled no punches during the announcement of the new Gauteng police commissioner, promising to deal with a man dubbed Mamelodi’s No 1 Tsotsi.

Makhura said: “One chap is on a reign of terror. He has turned Mamelodi into his own ‘thiefdom’. He is terrorising everybody; shooting people, collecting money from business; shutting down projects.

“Watch this space. His days are numbered out of prison.”

Makhura was speaking outside the Mamelodi East police station where he was joined by Police Minister Bheki Cele and national police commissioner General Khehla Sitole. 

Cele announced that Lieutenant-General Elias Mawela had been appointed new police commissioner of Gauteng.

Makhura didn't want to name the culprit, but many seemed to know who he was referring to. The Pretoria News News has opted to withhold the name.

Residents spoke of the man they suspected was being referred to, saying he was well known in the community, and that the mere mention of his name struck fear into the hearts of many taxi operators and business people.

They said he was a taxi boss accused of running an extortion ring, which forced entrepreneurs to pay him a “protection fee”.

There’s been mixed reaction to the young man, who some call the “Robin Hood” of the township. “He steals from the rich and gives to the poor. He does what police are scared of doing. He chases away foreigners who deal in drugs and prostitution,” said one.

But others said they were terrified of him. One businessman said he heard how the man targeted businesses and extorted money from them. “Not a day goes by without me thinking of him. We as business people are scared.”

Cele said: “We are watching him closely. We know he is well-connected. We are on to him”

Regarding the new provincial commissioner, Cele said Mawela was a seasoned, career police officer who would use his experience to nail criminals.

Mawela, 51, worked his way up through the ranks, first serving at various police stations in Gauteng as a detective commander and station commander. He has held top SAPS positions. Mawela replaces Lieutenant-General Deliwe de Lange, who resigned in October after she and four others were implicated in tender fraud, relating to police blue lights.

Mawela gave a short speech: “I will do everything in my vested power to protect the people of Gauteng.”

Before the announcement police had held a roadblock in Mamelodi, arresting 26 wanted criminals.

Pretoria News