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New top cop for the Northern Cape

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The Northern Cape’s first woman of colour provincial commissioner, Lieutenant-General Koliswa Constance Otola, was announced at the SAPS Tshwane Academy in Pretoria on Monday.

The newly appointed Northern Cape provincial commissioner, Lieutenant-General Koliswa Constance Otola. Picture: Supplied

THE NORTHERN Cape’s first woman of colour provincial commissioner, Lieutenant-General Koliswa Constance Otola, was announced at the SAPS Tshwane Academy in Pretoria on Monday.

The Northern Cape has been without a permanent provincial commissioner since Major-General Risimati Shuvuri retired almost three years ago.

Otola was serving as the deputy provincial commissioner responsible for crime detection and acting provincial commissioner.

Minister of Police Bheki Cele had indicated that the national commissioner and the premier needed to agree on the appointment first before Otola could be appointed.

The national commissioner, General Fanie Masemola, stated that the appointment fulfilled the aim to empower women in the SAPS, where there are now five female and four male provincial commissioners.

Otola started serving in the SAPS in January 1989 and was promoted to Sergeant within three years, before she was promoted in 2016 to the rank of major-general.

She holds a National Diploma and a BTech in Policing.

In her acceptance speech, Otola thanked the minister, premier and national commissioner for the confidence they placed in her.

She stated that gender-based violence, illicit mining and cable theft were priority areas that she wished to address in the Northern Cape.

“It will require collective and concerted efforts from government, churches, businesses and the community at large to address and curb these crimes,” said Otola.

Premier Zamani Saul welcomed the appointment and stated that Otola had proven herself as a capable senior manager who possessed the required skills and aptitude to lead the SAPS in the Province.

“As provincial government we will accord her the necessary support and co-operation to ensure that we make the Northern Cape a safer and investor-friendly Province,” said Saul.

“Her appointment is significant as it finds expression in our commitment to empower women and strike a balance in terms of gender representation in key positions in government.

“She’s a seasoned and very capable individual and we are thankful to the national commissioner for the appointment.”

DA Member of the Provincial Legislature Ofentse Mokae believed that the appointment was more than two years overdue, following the departure of Shivuri in 2019.

“The leaderless South African Police Service in the Province grew more ill-equipped, uncapacitated and poorly resourced to fight crime in the absence of a provincial commissioner,” said Mokae.

“We hope that Otola’s appointment will finally bring about some kind of stability in the provincial police service, which is already on its knees under the national leadership of Police Minister Bheki Cele.”

Mokae called on Otola to brief the portfolio committee on safety with regards to her turnaround strategy for the SAPS in the Province, as soon as the provincial legislature reconvenes.

“It is high time that the legislature meets face to face with Otola so that we can finally hold the police commissioner accountable for safety in the Province.”

New Northern Cape provincial commissioner Lieutenant-General Koliswa Constance Otola (middle) was appointed by the Minister of Police, General Bheki Cele (left), and the national commissioner, General Fanie Masemola (right). Picture: Supplied
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