General Riah Phiyega
||17 June 2012 07:00
Esté de Klerk
|Show: ||Carte Blanche|
Bongani Bingwa (Carte Blanche presenter): "The woman of the 21st Century embodies the hope of her Nation, knows her people's history, exposes injustice and comforts the poor and the unemployed. She quoted these words in a recent speech and indeed hopes to become such a woman - our newly appointed National Police Commissioner, General Riah Phiyega, welcome to Carte Blanche and thank you for talking to us."
General Riah Phiyega (National Police Commissioner): "Thank you for the opportunity and thank you for the inspiring quote of the Jamaican professor."
Bongani: "For you, what does assuming this office mean?"
General Phiyega: "It means an opportunity to serve my nation; this responsibility I accept with the greatest humility, just because of its sheer size, its scope, and what it means for this nation."
Bongani: "One of the criticisms against your appointment is the fact that you are a civilian. What are you going to do to boost morale within the rank and file of the force?"
General Phiyega: "My rank, my title I think have very little to do with the morale and the issues that you are raising. But what has got to do with the morale is whether - as a leader - I am able to give that inspirational guidance, I am able to hold a very bright torch to say: 'Colleagues, this is where we are going.''
Bongani: "Your two predecessors have left under a cloud, it may be said, what is your message to restore public confidence in the office that you are now holding?"
General Phiyega: "I think as a nation we must learn to move forward. You know a car? The rearview mirror is small; the windscreen is large. We will look at the rearview mirror to garner the lessons, but what is before us is the windscreen. We must look forward and go on."
Bongani: "But certainly to know where we are going, we must look and address where we come from. I mean, when the country's top cop is jailed for working with the other side - that will erode public confidence."
General Phiyega: "Do we sit there and stop and fill buckets and buckets with our tears, or do we say: 'Hell, we have fallen.' Stand up, remove the dust and say: 'What have we learned? We need to go on. Nobody wants to stay in this gloom and doom.' The 200 000 women and men that are here want to make a difference."
Bongani: "Your predecessor made quite a big issues around the police force being tough and fighting fire with fire and yet, we also saw during his tenure the rise in incidents of police brutality and sort of heavy handedness."
General Phiyega: "What of that is exaggeration and what of that recognise the benefits of being hard, bold and being very determined in dealing with crime? Yes, there are incidences that are unfortunate and yes, there has been progress; we see it in the statistics. There is a need for us to look at how you achieve that balance. We do that within the context of the human right environment."
Bongani: "Many South Africans feel because of all the bad publicity and all the negative things that have happened, they don't trust South African police officers."
General Phiyega: "I can't blame them, because that is a personal experience. Perhaps the challenge that is before us is how we turn that around so that we are trusted police men and women who people can feel comfortable that their lives, their safety and their security is in the right hands."
Bongani: "But will you be to the police what advocate Thuli Madonsela became to the Public Protector's office?"
General Phiyega: "I will be to the police what me Phiyega, General Phiyega - a woman who wants to join other women - in saying: 'Malibongwe! and let us put our energy to make a difference!' I will be that woman."
Bongani: "And who is the real ma Phiyega?"
General Phiyega: "I grew in rural areas of Polokwane, a little village called Leswane. I had parents who were teachers; I have two children - daughters; I have a grandchild; I am married to the most wonderful man who has taught me that manhood is about empowering others and I am truly grateful to be a citizen of this Mzanzi country."
Bongani: "There is a new sheriff in town, should South Africans sleep easier?"
General Phiyega: "I am asking South Africans to join the sheriff and to join the men and women in blue. Let's find ways of cooperating to make South Africa a better, a beautiful, a safe and secure place."
IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER:While every attempt has been made to ensure this transcript or summary is accurate, Carte Blanche or its agents cannot be held liable for any claims arising out of inaccuracies caused by human error or electronic fault. This transcript was typed from a transcription recording unit and not from an original script, so due to the possibility of mishearing and the difficulty, in some cases, of identifying individual speakers, errors cannot be ruled out.