21 February 2019

South Africa: Gauteng Top Cop Elias Mawela Wants to Prevent Crime At Source

Lieutenant-General Elias Mawela has his work cut out for him. Gauteng's new provincial police commissioner sat down with Daily Maverick to detail his vision, experience and explain his links to Marikana.

Elias Mawela tapped his epaulettes and service ribbons. "I never thought I'd be wearing this thing," he said, pointing to the three stars of a lieutenant-general.

The demure 53-year-old, who joined the police in 1984, won't list his proudest achievements. "I'm this person who doesn't blow my own horn," he said, sitting in a boardroom at Gauteng SAPS headquarters.

He opens up about his next goal: reaching 40 years in the service. Forty years means he didn't succumb to corruption or ill-discipline, or breach protocol. It means he can retire with a clean slate.

"That's all I care about."

Mawela has been Gauteng's top cop for two weeks. When Police Minister Bheki Cele announced his appointment as provincial commissioner recently in Mamelodi East, where Mawela served as an officer, he said tackling Gauteng's crime is crucial to improving safety across the country.

Gauteng may contribute as much as 50% of reported crimes across the country and its organised criminals often strike in other provinces, said Mawela. In 2018, the...

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