Source: Secretariat of Safety and Security
Title: SA: Mthethwa: Speech by the Minister of Safety and Security, Mr N E Mthethwa, to the Select Committee on Security and Consitutional Affairs: Vision in terms of combating crime
The priorities of the South African Police Service form part of its comprehensive strategic plan. The key strategic priorities comprise four operational and two organisational focus areas. These are:
* organised crime
* violent crime
* crimes against women and children
* service delivery at local level.
As far as the organisational priorities are concerned, budget and resource management receive attention.
Although major inroads have been made into the crime situation in our country over the past few years, we all have to agree that it is still on too high levels. That applies specifically to violent crime such as murder, rape, assault and robbery. These crimes create negative perceptions about South Africa here and abroad, it creates a feeling of fear and insecurity amongst our people this we can not tolerate. Our people can not be held hostage in their homes by ruthless criminals, our people can not be afraid to lead their normal lives as a result of criminal elements that have no respect for our constitution.
In order to deal with violent crime in a decisive manner until the end of this Government's term, I have had various discussions with police management, community structures and other role players over the past few days. During these meetings various proposals were entertained on how to deal with crime. Some of the issues on the table may take some time to implement, such as proposals on legislation. Others can be implemented in the short and medium term. It is however important that an urgent crime summit be held before the end of this year to debate the much-needed steps to be taken to prevent and combat crime. Particulars about the summit will be announced shortly.
I have, however, also decided that the festive season be utilised as a period to implement various crime combating initiatives in an integrated and coordinated manner. These will include:
* measures to combat aggravated robbery such as cash-in-transit, house and business robberies and the hijacking of vehicles;
* actions to address ATM bombings;
* social crime prevention operations dealing with contact crimes such as murder, rape and assault and especially crimes against women and children; and
* specific operations directed against organised crime groupings.
As far as aggravating robbery and ATM bombings are concerned national support will be provided to stations with the highest incidence of these crimes. Stations will also be clustered together to ensure a coordinated approach between the various station commissioners. The members from national units will serve as mobile teams to implement intelligence driven operations and to react to serious incidents. For this purpose air support will be provided to the respective clusters including from the South African Air Force. A request has already been forwarded to the Chief of the South African National Defence Force in this regard.
Members in the clusters will perform various types of operations, including:
* gathering and analysing of information and intelligence;
* implementation of operations based on the intelligence picture;
* roadblocks and vehicle control points;
* stop and search; and
* cordon and search operations-to name a few.
Cluster detective teams will be established to deal with priority cases.
Operations will also be launched in cooperation with all partners in the priority areas. These will include:
* the business community;
* the banking sector;
* security companies; and
* civil society structures.
Command and control structures will be established in each cluster to ensure unity of effort. This will entail the processing of all information and the operational tasking of members.
As far as social contact crimes and crimes against women and children are concerned, the 16 Days of Activism for no Violence Against Women and Children will form the rallying point for operational activities. It will commence on 25 November 2008 and will continue until 10 December 2008. The objectives of the programme will inter alia be:
* to maximise education and the level of awareness at grassroots level around the violation of the rights of women and children; and
* to mobilise, strengthen and coordinate partnerships with all sectors of society and to encourage communities to participate in the endeavours to fight the scourge of violence against vulnerable groups.
The various community programmes will be followed by the introduction of practical implementation plans on local level to strengthen:
* the anti-rape strategy;
* domestic violence strategy; and
* the victim empowerment programme.
The implementation of resolutions adopted during the crime summit will also be included in these strategies. Station areas where most social contact crimes occur will be prioritised for these initiatives.
In order to combat organised crime, a series of operations will be launched to disrupt the activities of crime syndicates. The organised crime threat analysis is currently being scanned to identify such operations.
At the end of January 2009 a thorough debriefing will take place to evaluate the impact of operation festive season. If necessary, adjustments will be made to the concept of operations.
As from February 2009, the Police Service will enter into a different operational mode due to the multiplicity of operational functions to be performed. These will include:
* continuing our crime prevention and combating efforts;
* secure election campaigns as well as the election itself;
* the inauguration of the president; and
* to finalise preparations for the FIFA Confederation Cup.
As far as crime is concerned, a more focused approach will be added to the flood and flush concept applicable to the festive season. This will inter alia include the tracing and arrest of wanted and identified suspects in connection with violent crimes. Modern technology such as the Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) will play a crucial role in this regard.
As far as the elections are concerned an operational plan comprising four phases has been completed. The first phase, viz the registration of voters has been concluded over the weekend of 8 to 9 November 2008. No serious incidents of a public order nature occurred during the weekend. I would like to thank all members of the police for a job well done, also for the assistance given to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to perform its functions.
We are aware that the pre-election phase will place high demands on the police. Many meetings and rallies will have to be secured and members will have to work long hours. I would like to ensure members of this house that we will do everything within our powers to ensure that all political parties can exercise their constitutional rights in an orderly manner.
The police have already requested political parties during a meeting of the Party Liaison Forum to provide the joint operational centres with information regarding major meetings and rallies to be held. A risk assessment system will be utilised to determine deployments during these events. I would like to appeal to all parties to give us the necessary assistance and cooperation in this regard.
The police have also established special teams in all provinces to deal with election related complaints of a criminal nature. These teams will operate in close cooperation with the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) conflict resolution mechanisms.
As far as the inauguration of the president is concerned the police form part of an inter-governmental team planning for this event. A concept operational plan has been drafted by the South African Police Service (SAPS) taking into account the best practices from previous events involving large numbers of VIPs.
The FIFA Confederation Cup will take place in June next year. A comprehensive security plan has already been submitted to FIFA comprising various operational elements, including:
* intelligence measures;
* VIP protection;
* border security;
* transport security;
* city security;
* stadium and fan park security; and
* a wide range of contingency plans to deal with any possible security risk.
In the run-up to the Confederation Cup various exercises as well as event specific training will take place. This must be implemented over the same period as the operations to secure the election and the inauguration of the president.
Members will agree with me that the period as from February next year will place major demands on the capacity of the police service. Our command and control systems will be stretched to the utmost to ensure effective resource utilisation and to perform the large number of operational functions expected from us.
I however would like to ensure members that we have only one vision, and that is to be successful in everything that we do in the next few months:
* in fighting crime;
* in securing the elections and the inauguration of the president; and
* to play a major role in presenting the best Confederation Cup and eventually FIFA World Cup ever.