President Jacob Zuma on Thursday announced the appointment of of Khehla John Sithole as South Africa’s new national police commissioner.

“Born in Standerton in Mpumalanga province, General Sithole brings a wealth of operational as well as management experience to the SA Police Service. He has grown through the ranks of the police, having joined the service as a constable until his promotion as a Lieutenant General in 2011,” Zuma’s office said in a statement.

According to the statement from the presidency, Sithole joined the police as a student constable in 1986 and in that same year was promoted to sergeant. He came up through the ranks, getting a promotion every two years until becoming a major in 1992.

Sithole became a lieutenant colonel in 1995, a director in the police service in 1996 and served as assistant police commissioner in three provinces from 2000 until 2010.

In 2013, former police commissioner Riah Phiyega appointed Sithole as deputy national commissioner responsible for police. He moved to the post of Divisional Commissioner responsible for protection and security services last year.

“His extensive experience in the police service will assist him to execute this critical task of making South Africans and everyone in the country safer and to feel safer. We wish General Sitole all of the best as he assumes his new position at the helm of a very important institution in government and the country,” Zuma said in the statement. 

Zuma also extended his appreciation to Lieutenant-General Lesetja Mothiba who has been acting in the post of national commissioner after his predecessor, Khomotso Phahlane was suspended. Phahlane was appointed to replace Phiyega, another commissioner who was suspended for her role in the death of 34 miners in Marikana in the North West province in 2012 in the biggest loss of life in a single police operation in democratic South Africa. 

Phiyega was not fired. Instead, her contract ran out earlier this year.

– African News Agency