Magashule lauds outgoing police commissioner

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Retiring Free State Provincial Commissioner, Thabethe Mpembe. PHOTO: OWEN KOCK

Police delegates from all around the province gathered to bid the retiring Free State Provincial Commissioner, Thabethe Mpembe, farewell at a swanky gala dinner on Friday night at the Tuscan Rose, in Bainsvlei, Bloemfontein.
Deputy Police Minister, Maggie Sotyu, Free State Premier, Ace Magashule, newly appointed MEC for Police, Roads and Transport, Sam Mashinini, and his predecessor, Butana Komphela, were among the guests.
Magashule said Mpembe is one of those people who has served the country selflessly and he praised Mpembe’s unique style of leadership.
He added that he has had the pleasure of working with various police commissioners during his reign in the province and police management in the province has proven to be among the most attentive he has come across.
Komphela said Mpembe served well under his tenure and he is certain the new commissioner, Jacob Tsumane, will do an excellent job in leading the police in the province.
“A country that has no police perishes quickly. But I’m 100% confident that a man who is going to be with this group is a man that will support me whenever we deal with issues of crime and police. And I’m sure he’s going to keep on speaking that language in defence of the police,” he said.
Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) and the South African Policing Union (Sapu) also offered messages of support to Mpembe as he brings an end to a crime-fighting career that spans over three decades.
Popcru said Mpembe is leaving at a time that he has “written a very rich history of taking the Free State to an unassailable position in terms of fighting crime and his successes in this regard will remain indelible”.
Sapu added that Mpembe had to fend off a lot of criticism from all sides during his tenure and the biggest challenge for him was seeing colleagues die in the line of duty.
Magashule recently shuffled his cabinet by moving Sam Mashinini to the Police, Roads and Transport portfolio and by moving Butana Komphela to the health department. He admitted that the health department is in shambles and there are only three ministers whom he could trust to resolve the crisis it’s currently undergoing.
He said Education MEC, Tate Makgoe, is doing an excellent job and he did not want to disturb the current flow, therefore his only other options were Komphela and Mashinini.
Magashule also hinted that Mpembe, who started out as a constable in 1978, has ample experience to go beyond just being the provincial commissioner.
“That’s why I need guys like General Mpembe. I will tell you where I want him, with other retired policemen and women… Watch this province in the next year. It will be one of the best and it will be peaceful and wonderful,” he said as he concluded his speech.
Mpembe’s previous role was Limpopo police commissioner and he has also served in Gauteng and Western Cape. It makes one wonder if his name would be thrown in the hat for suspended national police commissioner Riah Phiyega’s position. – Moeketsi Mogotsi
moeketsi@centralmediagroup.co.za