Police Minister Fikile Mbalula addresses the media in Pretoria on Tuesday. Picture: Jonisayi Maromo/ANA

Pretoria - President Jacob Zuma will soon announce a substantive national police commissioner for the South African Police Service (SAPS), Police Minister Fikile Mbalula said on Tuesday.

"The president is at the eve of finalising the appointment of a new national police commissioner. I am also at the eve of appointing the head of the DPCI [the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation commonly known as the Hawks]," Mbalula told reporters at the police training academy in Pretoria.

"In this regard, we are aware of the pending Constitutional Court challenge by Major-General [Berning] Ntlemeza, and are duly advised that his matter remains without merit. We hope to be in position to move the country forward on this regard very soon."

The term of previous police commissioner Riah Phiyega ended in June, while she was suspended on full pay. 

The SAPS has been without the national commissioner since October 2015, when Zuma suspended Phiyega pending the outcome of an inquiry into allegations of misconduct, her fitness to hold office and her capacity to execute official duties efficiently.

Phiyega was blamed for defects in police tactical plan that were partially blamed for the Marikana tragedy, in which 44 people were killed during mining unrest in Marikana near Rustenburg, North West Province, in 2012.

Lieutenant-General Khomotso Phahlane, who took over from Phiyega albeit in an acting capacity, was removed from that post by Zuma in June.

Mbalula announced at the time that Phahlane has been "relieved of his duties".

"President Jacob Zuma, in exercising his prerogative, has relieved Lt-General Phahlane from his position of acting national police commissioner. We wish to thank the president for his wisdom and decisive action in this regard," Mbalula told a media briefing in Cape Town at the time.

The Presidency then announced that Lieutenant-General Lesetja Mothiba had been appointed as the new acting national commissioner. He is still in the post.

In June, the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein rejected Ntlemeza’s appeal to be reinstated. He wanted to be reinstated while his application for leave to appeal was considered.

Ntlemeza had appealed against the North Gauteng High Court’s decision which found that his appointment was unlawful. He was declared unfit to hold any public office.