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Elias Mawela announced as Gauteng’s new police commissioner

Mawela says some communities expect officers to stand idle during protests despite property being vandalised and other criminal activity.

FILE: General Elias Mawela briefing media about all security-related operations for the Orange Africa Cup of Nation 2013. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG - Newly-appointed Gauteng Police Commissioner Lieutenant-General Elias Mawela says one of the police's primary objectives will be to correct the sometimes hostile relationship with communities.

Mawela says some communities expect officers to stand idle during protests despite property being vandalised and other criminal activity.

The announcement of Mawela's appointment was made on Wednesday morning by National Police Commissioner Khehla Sitole.

Mawela takes over from Lieutenant-General Deliwe de Lange who resigned in October.

He said his mandate was to get the crime situation in Gauteng under control. Mawela said he was set on reducing serious and violent crimes.

“When Gauteng sneezes, the whole country catches the cold [and] we need to work very hard.”

He said police often find themselves caught between anarchy and democracy.

“[To] police it will be an emotional kind of work whereby those that are being acted upon they will have issues. If we don’t act, those who are victims will also have issues.”

At the same time, the commissioner has urged students protesting at universities to do so peacefully.