Building managerial capacity in the SAPS through professional development

Posted on August 11, 2015

‘Training, skills development and education remain key objectives if we are to remain relevant to police in a democratic dispensation.’

These were the words of General Riah Phiyega, National Commissioner of the South African Police Service (SAPS), when she addressed guests and members of the national Police Service at a certificate ceremony held on Wednesday, 29 July 2015 at the Groenkloof Campus of the University of Pretoria (UP). As the keynote speaker at the event, General Phiyega commended SAPS delegates on completing the Public Management Development Programme (PMDP).

‘If we [the SAPS] are to live up to the expectations of our Constitution and changes articulated in the NDP (National Development Plan), we must align ourselves accordingly, and education is the cornerstone of that much-needed alignment,” she said.

Fifty-six commanders in the SAPS successfully completed the PMDP, which was presented by Continuing Education at University of Pretoria (CE at UP) and the School of Public Management and Administration during the course of 2014. The training was conducted in line with the SAPS underwriting Vision 2030 stipulated in the NDP, with the aim of empowering its public service officials to perform their duties more professionally, while also meeting the developmental needs of an ever-changing society.

Training in the programme was sponsored by the Belgian Development Agency (BTC), under the auspices of a long-established training and development partnership with the SAPS that started in 1995.

General Phiyega encouraged the delegates to employ the knowledge they gained in the programme to drive the SAPS forward: ‘The SAPS trusts that you will not fail in your responsibility to create a living legacy for those still to come. As you create that legacy, remember to inculcate in your colleagues the principles and values that strive to promote integrity and respect for the organisation and the people it is meant to serve.’

She also stated that government departments require continuous professional development and all South Africans have the right and obligation to ascertain whether and to what degree the community’s public safety needs are being met.

Brigadier Elizabeth Baby Maaga is one of six delegates who decided to complete a Master’s degree in Public Administration at the University after completing the PMDP. ‘We are public administrators, so it is important to know how to handle the clients outside in their communities. You learn how important your clients are and how to serve them.’

She recommended that more of her colleagues take part in the programme, adding: ‘It builds you to be able to perform your duties effectively and efficiently.’ She further said that she believes it is important for all public administrators to attend such programmes and learn how to deal with the challenges they may face in the workplace.

The top-achieving delegates in the PMDP were rewarded for their dedication and commitment to self-betterment and driving the vision of the SAPS forward. One of them, Major General Risimati Peter Shivuriwas said: ‘The programme is very important. It builds up participants and facilitates sharing of experiences between people from different backgrounds. This helps them to serve the community of South Africa.’ He also stated that it is vital that the participants not only recommend the programme to other people, but also implement what they have learned as a collective. ‘You cannot do it as an individual, you must work as a team. It is not about one person, it is about all of us, together, making sure that the work is done and South Africa is safe,’ he said.

Higher learning institutions such as UP have an immense task in educating public officials. They play a critical role in advancing the vision stipulated in the NDP, which serves as a road map for government institutions to follow.

General Phiyega said that she was honoured to be among enquiring minds, academics, and practitioners and professionals of various disciplines, and that the delegates should be proud of their association with the University. ‘This is a day that every delegate should treasure. I, for one, value the role higher education institutions play in shaping our society.’

Encouraging the delegates to go out and inspire others, she concluded with a motto that she terms the ‘Three I’s’: Inspire, influence and make an impact.


CE at UP and the School of Public Management and Administration presented the Public Management Development Programme to the SAPS as a customised, in-house training solution. The programme equips delegates with the required working knowledge and understanding of major managerial and financial management issues in order that they may effectively carry out their job requirements in pursuit of the vision and mission of their institution.

- Author CE at UP

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