Minister of Police, General Bheki Cele,
Minister in the Presidency for Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma,
Premier of the Eastern Cape, Mr Oscar Mabuyane,
National Commissioner of the SAPS, General Fannie Masemola,
Leadership of the SAPS,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I wish to greet all the women of our country’s security and law enforcement agencies making up this Integrated Women in Law Enforcement Parade.
Today marks the end of Women’s Month.
It is a month during which we celebrate how far we have come in building a non-sexist society, a society where women are free and equal and enjoy the rights guaranteed by our Constitution.
Today we are witnesses to the transformation of safety and security in South Africa.
We have come a long way since the first women were accepted into the then South African Police over 50 years ago to perform administrative and so-called ‘soft’ duties.
Today, women are taking their rightful place in our police and security services.
Today, we have the first ever female Deputy National Commissioner for Policing, Lieutenant General Tebello Mosikili.
Lieutenant General Mosikili is one of two women co-chairs of the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure, known as NatJoints.
They are among the women who are leading the way in the transformation of our safety and security institutions.
We have certainly come a long way, but we know that we still have much further to go.
Earlier this morning, we were part of the unveiling of the DNA expansion project
at the Forensic Science Laboratory at the Eben Donges Building here in Gqeberha.
I commend the SAPS for their hard work and commitment to addressing backlogs in the analysis of DNA retrieved from crime scenes.
With this new and enhanced capacity in the Eastern Cape Forensic Science Laboratory, we can expect faster turnaround times, especially with respect to the investigation of gender-based violence and femicide.
The improved forensic capabilities should expedite investigations, and help our police build strong cases with solid evidence to enable the successful conviction of perpetrators.
People who commit crimes against women and children have no place in our society. We depend on this and other forensic science laboratories across the country to make sure that these criminals are put prison and remain there.
It is impressive that the construction of this upgraded facility, which started during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021, was completed at six months ahead of the projected completion time and below budget.
It is worth mentioning that this project is driven by a woman, the Divisional Commissioner for Detective and Forensic Services, Lieutenant General Khosi Senthumule.
As we wrap up this Women’s Month, we appreciate all women in the integrated security and law enforcement agencies, across all the ranks.
It is these women who continue to make significant strides in what was previously considered to be male-dominated environments.
Women are increasingly present in national intervention units, special task forces, bomb disposal units, tactical response teams, search and rescue teams, flying squads and highway patrol units.
More and more women are becoming pilots and airborne law enforcement officers; forensic, ballistic and DNA analysts; and crime scene reconstruction experts.
They are correction officials, mechanical engineers, motor vehicle reconstruction experts and artisans.
Indeed, there should no longer be any area of police and security work that is closed to women and no area where they are not able to excel.
Let me commend the Ministry of Police and the management of the SAPS, and all the heads of other law enforcement agencies, for ensuring that the goal of gender equality in the workplace is closer to becoming a reality.
Five out of nine Provincial Commissioners are women. This is the result of hard work that led to well-deserved promotions.
Let me also recognise and commend efforts by other departments like the SANDF, Correctional Services, metros and traffic police who are also working to make sure that women have equal opportunities for career advancement.
We appreciate the struggles of women over the generations that laid the foundation for these accomplishments. We welcome this kind of integration of multiple forces and capabilities led by women in the security and law enforcement space.
It is imperative for all of us gathered here today, men and women, that we support these women who are willing to put in the work and make the sacrifices to ensure that everyone in South Africa is safe.
While we have much further to go towards making gender equality a reality in all workplaces in South Africa, our integrated law enforcement agencies are leading the way. For this we salute you.
Halala makhosikazi halala! Halala zimbhokodo halala!
I thank you.