The Provincial Commissioner of the Western Cape, Lieutenant General Khombinkosi Elvis Jula, has been removed from his position and has been appointed as Provincial Commissioner for KwaZulu-Natal from August 1.
National Commissioner of the South African Police Service (SAPS), General Khehla John Sitole, made the announcement on Monday morning.
Sitole came out strongly last week against reports that Jula was being “removed”. Rather, he said in a statement that Jula had been asked to consider going back to KwaZulu-Natal to be the commissioner in that province.
According to media reports at the time, the complaints regarding Jula revolve around whether gang crime has decreased; questions over the shooting of five Anti-Gang Unit (AGU) members in the Samora Machel informal settlement last month; and whether Jula’s job should rather have gone to a local police officer, such as Major General Jeremy Vearey, the province’s deputy commissioner of crime detection.
There has been trouble among top police officials in the Western Cape over the last month.
Following the Samora Machel shooting, the unit’s head Major General Andre Lincoln wrote a scathing letter requesting that three top-ranking members be removed from his unit.
Breakdown in trust
He claimed there was a breakdown in trust during the botched raid, and that he had not been kept abreast of the operation.
Last week, community activist Colin Arendse claimed that the AGU had not been allocated its budget, and further alleged that an “illegal” Operation MORT (Major Offences Reaction Team), was launched to counter the anti-gang unit, denuding police stations and resources in the process.
Police Minister Bheki Cele said he would be probing the claims. Cele has since moved the anti-gang unit to the national office.
According to Sitole’s statement, Jula has more than 30 years of service having enlisted as a student constable in Durban.
“He rose through the ranks to the level of Lieutenant General in 2016 when he was appointed as Provincial Commissioner of the Western Cape, where he has been serving to date,” Sitole said.
“Before his appointment as Provincial Commissioner, Western Cape, he held several positions in KwaZulu-Natal including that of Deputy Provincial Commissioner: Human Resource Management and Deputy Provincial Commissioner: Visible Policing.”
Jula holds a BTech degree in policing as well as a National Diploma in police administration.
“The national head office also sees the return of Lieutenant General Nhlanhla Sibusiso Mkhwanazi as the Divisional Commissioner: Operational Response Services (ORS) also effective from August 1,” Sitole also announced.
“Mkhwanazi joined the SAPS as a student constable in 1993. He rose through the ranks to Lieutenant General in 2011.
“Before being appointed as acting provincial commissioner for KwaZulu-Natal, Mkhwanazi occupied several positions within the Service including that of Head: Special Task Force (STF) and Divisional Commissioner: Human Resource Development, as well as the acting national commissioner of police.”
Mkhwanazi holds a BTech degree in policing as well as a National Diploma in police administration.
Sitole said the Western Cape position of Provincial Commissioner will be temporarily filled by Lieutenant General Sindile Mfazi, the current Deputy National Commissioner of Management Advisory Services.
“Mfazi’s appointment forms part of the National Stabilisation Intervention currently being implemented in the Western Cape.
The SAPS management is confident that the appointment of Mfazi into this acting position will add value to the intervention programme while the process of appointing a permanent Provincial Commissioner is unfolding,” Sitole said.
Position to be filled soon
The process to appoint a permanent provincial commissioner will commence on August 1 and is expected to be completed by the end of the same month, Sitole said.
The National Commissioner has expressed his “heartfelt gratitude” to Jula for the sterling work he has done in the Western Cape Province.
“Having served in KwaZulu-Natal for the majority of his police career, coupled with the position of Provincial Commissioner of the Western Cape, makes him one of the most experienced to take up the vacant position of Provincial Commissioner: KwaZulu-Natal,” said Sitole.
Sitole also thanked Mkhwanazi for having made the sacrifice of moving from Pretoria to serve as the provincial commissioner of KwaZulu-Natal.
“Lieutenant General Mkhwanzi’s experience and expertise speaks volumes of his capability to hold the position of Divisional Commissioner: Operational Response Services,” said Sitole.
“I hold all these managers in high regard and I am sure that they will optimally guide those under their command to ensure a safer South Africa.”