MEC for Safety, Security & Liaison, Limpopo, Ms F Radzilani
National Commissioner of Police, General MV Phiyega
All SAPS Lieutenant Generals and senior managers present
Secretary of Police, Ms J Irish-Qhobosheane
Representatives from the Magoshi
Representatives from the Religious Council
Representatives from Business, Unions and Civic Organisations present
Mayor of the Makhuduthamaga Municipality Councilor, MA Matlala
National Chairperson of the Community Police Forum Board Mr Brown
Community of Jane Furse and surrounding areas
Members of the media
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Two years ago, on 10 September 2010 to be exact, we came as the police leadership to Jane Furse where we opened a new police station. At the time we made it clear that the police station was not a property of the police leadership, its management and officers – but that were placing it in the hands of the community on Jane Furse.
On that momentous occasion we said, quote: ‘Through years of hardship, amid numerous threats from criminals, the people of these communities have never given up hope in a belief that the government they elected into power in the last three consecutive elections, will one day also build them a police station, like it has done in other communities in other parts of the country.’
We further said that the construction of the Jane Furse police station should make a categorical statement that no longer would we allow this community to walk long distances to lodge a complaint or report any criminal activity. It must become a beacon of hope to those who have been affected by crime.
Ladies and gentlemen,
We further challenged police management here to ensure that the police station became a model of excellence. Its success and failure in dealing a blow to crime in Jane Furse will be dependent in the community’s involvement. The question we are posing today: has this police station been an excellent model? Has it strengthened the partnership between the police and this community?
We are reflecting on the importance of police stations not only in Jane Furse but across the country, because in the main, as we criss-cross the lengths and breaths of our country interacting with communities, a parallel is often drawn on the kind of service that people receive from police. Police stations after all remain the face of our policing efforts and that is why the Batho Pele principles must be adhered to.
We are here because we have a duty to fulfil to this community and its surrounding areas but fundamentally, as duty to serve and protect the entire nation. We are launching the ‘Operation Duty Calls’ National Festive Season Crime-Fighting campaign for 2011/12. To coincide with this launch, we are officially launching the Limpopo Tracking Team. We believe this unit will compliment and become an additional arsenal in the fight against crime, particularly in tracking the most wanted identified criminals in Limpopo.
Police commenced with these operations countrywide from September and these will continue until end of January 2013. Our main objective is to call upon all South Africans to partner with the police in fighting the scourge of crime. This year’s operations will build upon the previous year’s lessons and successes. We will also increase high visibility patrols at all tourist destinations especially along the coastal cities.
Our approach and operations are focused around aggravated robberies, including house and business robberies, cash-in-transit, as well as ATM bombings. We also focused on social crime-prevention operations dealing with contact crimes like murder, rape and crimes against women, children and the elderly.
There is also a concerted focus on alcohol and drug abuse during this period. The drug trade and its associated problems continue to grow in most parts of the world, primarily because global abuse and accessibility of drugs has become increasingly complex, as trafficking routes have become shorter, more diverse and more easily traversed.
Ladies and gentlemen,
As part of the broader fight against crime during last year’s festive season, we also launched the Anti-Piracy and Counterfeit Goods campaign. We shall continue with the operations this year.
Based on the previous successes in the fight against crime, we remain confident of victory on this anti-piracy campaign. The campaign is in partnership with other departments and strategic partners, including Trade and Industry, Home Affairs, South African Revenue Service (SARS), National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), Southern African Federation Against Theft, Recording Industry of South Africa Films, Publications Board and various artists most of whom are direct victims of piracy.
As we commenced last year, we shall continue during this festive season to focus our operations in dealing with the challenge regarding piracy of CDs, DVDs, cigarettes and clothing. These operations will be mounted unannounced and like a lightning that strikes, criminals will feel the heat. We want to curb the increasing volumes of piracy and counterfeit production and illegal sale of CDs, DVDs, cigarettes and clothing across the country.
Through these operations we also intend to increase public awareness about safe-guarding of children during the festive season. It is also aimed at strengthening partnerships between the public, law-enforcement agencies and other government departments in ensuring a safe and secure environment during the festive season and beyond.
One of the focal areas for our operations will be on rural operations. We know that our history is characterised among others, by deliberate neglect of rural areas. The birth of democracy saw a shift in approach. As government we have now prioritised the issue of rural development high on the agenda.
This emphasis in protecting rural areas must not be intensified during the festive season alone, but must be on-going. Part of the reason why we cannot neglect these areas, as we have observed through crime displacement, some crime syndicates operate in rural areas, harassing and undermining the safety of poor communities. Equally the increase in incidents of stock theft continued to draw and required our urgent attention.
If criminals contemplate using rural areas as a hide-out, then they better know that we are right there, tactically and forcefully. As the community you have a role to play, and not only during this festive period but on a daily basis.
We need communities to play oversight role on police but as we do so we should not be informed by narrow agendas. We urge you to constructively critic police where they do wrong but equally compliment them where they excel. We emphasise this point, precisely because police stations are not political playgrounds. They have never been and will never be.
We have noted some in society who for whatever reason and logic would try and discredit the good work done by police. Well a message to our police is simple: ignore these prophets of doom and focus on the task at hand, which is to ensure that our nation is safe.
Neither are the South African Police Service (SAPS) nor our police stations playgrounds where criminals can come and befriend our members. By virtue of their criminal ways, those who commit crime have automatically declared themselves as our enemies. We cannot have police and criminals in the same space, being cordial. To them we must be tough and send a message that this government will not tolerate criminality.
Importantly, yesterday I had a discussion with the top management of the police and deliberated at length about ways and mechanisms to transform the SAPS into a professional service. To achieve this, we emphasised training as a fundamental programme for us.
When it comes to training our philosophy is that none of us here can claim to be experts but that it must be relevant and on-going. We have agreed with the police management to begin reviewing our training programmes and to ensure that the cadre of cop we produce, understands their role, respects the Constitution and is able to be a protector of the vulnerable in society.
As we embark on these training programmes, we also need firm and fit officers. Those who join the SAPS must know upfront the kind of image and officer we want and expect. The SAPS is not a retirement village. We expect fit and strong officers who are capable of chasing and apprehending criminals. We require a new kind of image from all our officers. We shall therefore not compromise on this aspect and that is why fitness is crucial.
The leadership and management of police will continue to ensure that our members are properly trained, as we believe it is a fundamental element in helping us win the war against crime. We need to continuously sharpen our ammunition and arsenals, both tactically and strategically.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Crime is among the most difficult of the many challenges facing South Africa in the post-apartheid era and it has an impact on the quality of life of the people in society. However, the recent SAPS National Crime Statistics report indicates that our country is making headway in the fight against crime. This is matched by improved public perceptions, over the past year, regarding government’s performance on reducing crime and arresting criminals.
This confirms that the work of the Justice Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) cluster remains critical and it has a major impact on the lives of South Africans. However, as we indicated on the occasion of the release of the crime statistics, we are not there yet as much more still needs to be done. There are still noticeable high levels of fear in the country. Hence, it is important for government to manage these levels of fear, especially in their homes.
Violence and crime can change social networks and interactions and create mistrust, not only of the state but, also within communities. This not only makes communities more vulnerable to crime, but also perpetuates crime and violence.
Different studies have also shown that substance abuse can be a powerful driver of crime. Internationally the extensive and far-reaching impact of alcohol abuse on crime and public safety has increasingly become a matter requiring public policy attention. In South Africa, the abuse of alcohol has impacted on a variety of crimes including domestic violence, assaults and even murders.
The continuous arrests and successful convictions across the country are not random occurrences or pure coincidences, but achieved through planning. These successes were achieved through coordinated efforts.
We want also to focus all our energies in ensuring that we do not only arrest those who are on the wrong side of the law, but mainly secure convictions. In order to do that, we are re-enforcing our detective and investigative arms.
As police, during this festive season, we need to be ahead of the criminals when it comes to planning. We must fight crime smartly and toughly. Fundamentally we remain confident of defeating the scourge of crime because we have the resolve and support of the communities.
Ladies and gentlemen,
A nation that does not protect its mothers and children is doomed. This government has therefore prioritised and strengthened its efforts in protecting women and children against vicious acts of rape and abuse. We have now begun with capacitating the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences (FCS) units.
FCS structures are now being aligned with the cluster policing model to serve the stations. Best practices have also been identified where FCS units and non-governmental organisations will be able to work together. There is a clear positive impact of these models in the turn-around times, detection and court readiness of dockets pertaining to FCS crimes.
As I conclude, we want to emphasise that the police must be accountable to the people whom they serve. Unless the police are rooted in and are accountable to the communities in whose name they police, they will not enjoy the support of these communities.
The police have to deal with increasing demands for police service delivery, deal with high crime levels and the growth in organised crime. From our perspective, we have confidence in our members’ capability to deal with these challenges.
We shall continue the work of transforming the SAPS to ensure that it becomes a true servant and protector of all law-abiding citizens. Transformation must therefore speak to the type of organisation we want to create: a police service that is steeped in the values enshrined in our Constitution and inspires the confidence of the ordinary person on the street.
The unity of society and police on the question of crime should act as a source of great strength to us. Today there can be no doubt about the determination of the overwhelming majority of the citizens of this country to take concerted action to help us liquidate crime.
Fighting Crime – It Begins With Me.
I thank you.