While they were at odds in the run-up to the appointment of a provincial commissioner for the Western Cape, both the DA and ANC welcomed the appointment of Lieutenant General Yolisa Matakata.
Police Minister Bheki Cele made the much-anticipated announcement on Thursday.
He said Matakata, who acted as head of the Hawks until Godfrey Lebeya took over in May 2018, joined the police in 1985 and has more than 34 years’ service. She was given the rank of lieutenant general on December 1, 2015.
“This officer has attained vast experience in the crime intelligence and serious organised crime environment. General Matakata is in possession of a senior certificate. The member is now transferred from the Hawks and back into the service to serve the people of the Western Cape,” Cele said in a statement.
“General Matakata served 15 years in the crime intelligence environment in the Western Cape of which she served five years as the provincial head. She also served as a deputy provincial commissioner responsible for detective services and thereafter the Hawks.”
Mired in controversy
The appointment process was mired in controversy as the DA and ANC accused each other of political interference in the process.
This after Major General Jeremy Vearey did not make the shortlist apparently because his qualifications were not attached, which he denied, and the post was re-advertised.
Western Cape Premier Alan Winde welcomed Matakata’s appointment.
“The appointment will bring steadfast leadership and stability to policing in the Western Cape. We look forward to working with Lieutenant General Matakata on improving safety in our province, and on our provincial safety plan, and trust that the national government will give her the support required to effectively lead the police in our province,” he said in a statement.
“The Western Cape cabinet was consulted as part of the appointment process, and we agreed to and welcome the outcome,” Winde added.
Western Cape Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz said he looked forward to working with Matakata “in a productive and amicable manner”.
“It is my hope that we will work closely together to improve safety in the province, particularly through departmental initiatives such as community policing forums and neighbourhood watches. We also look forward to a new era in terms of co-operation in this space, and hope finally to see the regular delivery of crime statistics as is legislated for in our Community Safety Act, as well as improvements in police service delivery and response times,” Fritz added.
ANC Western Cape interim provincial committee chairperson Ronalda Nulamango said in a statement Matakata was no stranger to the Western Cape after previously serving as its head of crime intelligence.
Safer festive season
“We are confident that she will fearlessly lead our men and women in blue in turning our province around. We are confident that the people of the Western Cape and visitors can look forward to a safer festive season now that the vacancy has been filled. Criminals better beware and take notice of her appointment,” said Nulamango.
Apart from Matakata, Cele also made the following appointments:
– Lieutenant General Moeketsi Sempe as divisional commissioner for visible policing;
– Lieutenant General Baile Motswenyane as provincial commissioner of the Free State;
– Lieutenant General Sello Kwena as provincial commissioner of the North West.
Cele said these changes were made following extensive consultation and were in line with the police’s turnaround vision.
“These permanent appointments will provide structure, enhanced accountability as well as command and control in the respective divisions and provinces to ensure that the police, as an organisation, work towards one common goal – ‘A journey to a safer South Africa’.
“This is in line with the working theme of the police of zizojika izinto, translated to turning the tide against crime,” he said.
“We trust that the new management team will add tremendous value towards achieving our service delivery agreement of ensuring that the people of South Africa are, and feel safe.”