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SA: Mthethwa: Budget speech by the Minister of Police, Parliament (01/07/2009)

1st July 2009

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Date: 01/07/2009

Source: Department of Police

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Title: SA: Mthethwa: Budget speech by the Minister of Police, Parliament

Honourable Speaker
Honourable President
Honourable Deputy President
Madam Deputy Speaker
Honourable Ministers
Honourable Deputy Ministers
Honourable members
Distinguished guests
Comrades

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Let us take this opportunity to applaud the Local Organising Committee (LOC) on their successful hosting of the Confederations Cup. It would not be untrue to say, they exceeded all expectation.

Furthermore, we wish to take a moment to commend Bafana Bafana for the manner in which they performed and in becoming the first South African team to reach the semi finals of the Confederations Cup. I, like many South Africans was sitting on the edge of my seat during their match against Brazil. I was equally captivated by their performance in the third and fourth place play-off match against Spain.

We would also like to welcome students from Uyengo High School, who together with their principal, Mr Hlaluka, have travelled all the way from KwaZulu-Natal and are sitting in the public gallery.

It is encouraging to see young people taking an interest in the affairs of government. Their presence in the police budget vote highlights youth's concern regarding safety and security. This concern is echoed by the recent crime summit organized by youth in the Northern Cape.

Furthermore, we applaud the political youth organisations who have committed themselves to joining government in the fight against crime.

To all of you, we convey the wise words of the late leader of our Liberation Movement, Moses Kotane who said, "At this hour of destiny, your country and your people need you. South Africa is in your hands and it will be what you make of it."

The youth of our country are our present and future and it is crucially important that they engage in the fight against crime. Their interest in this issue also serves to remind us how important it is for us not to fail them in addressing crime as part of securing a better future.

Honourable Speaker,
Twenty years ago, some of the Rivonia trialists, among them Walter Sisulu, Wilton Mkwayi, Elias Motsoaledi, Raymond Mhlaba, Andrew Mlangeni and Ahmed Kathrada were released from prison.

They had been incarcerated for upholding and fighting for the achievement of a society based on the democratic values enshrined in the Freedom Charter.

Their crime had been to assert that "South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black and white and that no government can justly claim authority unless it is based on the will of all the people."

That beacon of hope, the Freedom Charter, remains still, one of the most famous documents in the history of the freedom struggle. The aspirations contained therein, including peace, security and comfort, define the tasks that we, today's generation, must accomplish.

Fifteen years ago, after centuries of arduous struggle, the millions of the people of our country voted into state power, the first ever government that could justly claim authority. Since then, the manner in which we have conducted ourselves is an equivocal statement about our commitment to justice, peace and democracy.

The preamble to our Constitution reasserts the profound statement that "South Africa belongs to all who live in it." It further binds us to work to "improve the quality of life of all citizens and free the potential of each person."

Honourable members

The African National Congress (ANC) government remains unshakeable in its commitment to work together with the people of our land to improve the quality of life of all South Africans. Fully appreciative of the stubborn legacy of colonialism and apartheid, the struggle to realise the kind of society enshrined in our Constitution and the Freedom Charter continues.

The fight against crime is part of an integrated approach in the effort to accomplish the goal of a better life for all. An improving quality of life also means better and improving conditions of safety and security of the people in their homes, in their communities, in their places of work and entertainment.

Crime undermines our efforts aimed at defeating poverty even as poverty contributes in various ways in creating conditions that breed crime.

Speaking on the occasion of the State of the Nation Address, President Jacob Zuma said, "Together we must do more to fight crime. Our aim is to establish a transformed, integrated, properly resourced and well-managed criminal justice system (CJS). It is also critically important to improve the efficiency of the courts and the performance of prosecutors, and to enhance detective, forensic and intelligence services. This work has started in earnest, and it will be undertaken with new energy and vigour."

To facilitate the process of realising the objectives of the revamp of the CJS, various interventions will be made.

The South African Police Service (SAPS) personnel will increase from 183 180 to 204 860 over the next three years. As the capacity of the SAPS continues to improve across the whole spectrum, more focus will pay to increasing the numbers in visible policing, detectives and crime intelligence.

This year alone, the number of detectives will increase by more than 19 percent. More than 12 928 persons are undergoing detective related training this year, and this programme is already underway.

Honourable members

The importance of scientific evidence has become essential in the investigation of cases. Accordingly, we shall increase the capacity of the forensic science laboratories, with additional funding of 150m for the 2008/09 period and a further 50 million per year to the 2011/12 financial year.

The Criminal Law (Forensic Procedures) Amendment Bill will be finalised within a year's time.

By 31 December this year, we aim to reduce the time from the receipt of exhibit for forensic analysis (DNA) to the production of the report to 35 days in 92 percent of cases. In the same period, we shall reduce the time from the receipt of the fingerprint (Criminal Record Centre) to the analysis thereof to 30 days in 85 percent of the cases.

An implementation plan for the full utilisation of integrated DNA/Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS)/facial and iris recognition will be developed by 31 October this year.

One of the immediate objectives is to ensure that the combined cluster interventions should achieve a 2 percent increase in the number of finalised cases by 31 October this year.

Further to realise the objectives of the revamp process, the current network infrastructure is being upgraded.

A cooperative approach will characterise work between departments as part of the national crime prevention strategy.

Honourable speaker

In any policing system intelligence should act as a nerve centre. Intelligence has a crucial role to play in all aspects of policing. The need to revitalise the intelligence component of SAPS as well as the integration of intelligence into all aspects of policing is a high priority.

In order to improve our capacity to provide technical support for investigations and crime prevention operations, we are going to increase police intelligence personnel as well as the associated operational expenditures.

Honourable members

The scourge of serious and violent crime remains one of the major concerns of government and all the people of our land.

The kind of violence that frequently accompanies business and house robberies, as well as car hijackings, can only be committed by people who have lost all sense of their humanity.

Honourable members

We are not going to allow criminals to prevent us from fulfilling our historic goal of improving the quality of life of all citizens and free the potential of each person.

Part of the effort in launching the challenge in this regard, is going to be about bringing about stability to the crime intelligence division, through appointing a permanent divisional commissioner this month.

There are over 1000 vacant posts in this division. This situation cannot be allowed to continue. Therefore, we shall work to ensure that these posts are filled as a matter of urgency. We shall also prioritise training programmes.

Furthermore, we are going to deepen the partnership with communities. In this regard, the ministry is establishing a dedicated unit to focus on deepening the interaction with communities, civil society, business, faith-based organisations and the spheres of government.

Effective contemporary crime prevention relies heavily on partnerships and multi agency approaches. These partnerships and multi agency approaches involve using different resources, skills and capacity.

Some of these resources and capacity are not available within the police themselves. Partnerships and multi agency approaches help us to harness these resources and capacity. In using the resources, skills and capacity of our partners we can find ways of maximising our strength and at the same time minimizing our weaknesses.

Currently, out of the 1116 police stations, 95 percent of these have Community Police Forums (CPFs). This kind of progress is commendable. We must express our gratitude to community patrollers and the youth who have committed themselves to the service of our country.

This is one area where we expect the implementation of a national youth service as a living example that the youth of today are not only interested in crass materialism.

We are going to accelerate the effort of building and strengthening CPFs, Community Safety Forums (CSFs), street and village committees.

Further to strengthen the fight against serious and violent crime, we are going to table some legislative interventions. In particular, we are proposing some amendments to section 49 of the Criminal Procedure Act.

We must hasten to say that, trigger happy members must not think that this is a license to kill. It is a measure aimed specifically at dealing with serious violent crime and dangerous criminals.

In engaging serious and violent crime, we are in discussions with other cluster Ministries such as Defence and Military Veterans, State Security and others.

The continued incidents of cash in transit heists remain a matter of vital concern to the government. While the financial losses may have declined the threat posed to the public, where heavily armed criminals conduct heists in public spaces requires intervention. The ministry is currently looking at a number of different approaches to address this problem.

The development and implementation of legislation aimed at reducing vulnerabilities within the cash in transit industry is being worked on.

A Cash Risk Management (CRIM) forum has been set up under the chairpersonship of the Reserve Bank. This CRIM forum includes a number of key business role players who are directly involved in cash management. The CRIM forum has also done extensive work on CIT risks. The department will need to more actively engage with this forum and the CIT industry.

Street robberies constitute between 70 to 80 percent of crime figures. Many of these incidents are not reported as they take place in poor and underdeveloped areas. A greater part of youth involvement will focus on this area.

The President has highlighted the need to upscale the effort to deal with crimes perpetrated against women and children. We are going to ensure that current measures are vigorously implemented.

In addition, our view is that we will review the decision to close specialised units. The closure of these units has lead to significant debate regarding the need for certain types of crimes to be addressed by people with specialised knowledge and experience.

Some of this knowledge and experience can only be acquired through concerted and focused knowledge acquired over time. We need to consider the reintroduction of some these specialized units such as the child protection unit and sexual offences unit.

Furthermore, we are going to table amendments to section 26 of the Criminal Procedure Act. The Ministry of Justice and ours are seized with this matter.

Earlier government decision to withdraw the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) from the borderline is under review. There is a 20 percent increase in the ports of entry security budget, indicating government's resolve to tighten the situation in this regard.

Honourable speaker

The SAPS has developed a corruption and fraud prevention plan. The plan aims to educate employees and the public about the nature and consequences of corruption. We are going to assess the continued effectiveness of the plan. The effort to fight corruption in the public and private sector is going to be strengthened.

Processes aimed at the full establishment of the directorate for priority crime investigation are progressing as planned. The unit will be fully functional on the fixed date of 6th of this month.

The establishment of this unit will enhance our capacity to prevent, combat and investigate national priority crimes.

Members will remember that the Head of DPCI, Commissioner A Dramat, was appointed last month. Fifty one members of the former Directorate of Special Operations (Scorpions) have already joined the new unit. A further 227 will join the unit on the 6th of July.

Altogether, 1 700 members have undergone security clearance processes and are ready to ensure that the unit hits the ground running. The unit will have presence in all nine provinces.

We would like to express our sincere gratitude to those members of the DSO who have agreed to join the DPCI. We thank them for again deciding to join hands with government and the people of our country in the fight against crime. Their presence in the newly formed DPCI will ensure continuity. They indeed are acting as true patriots.

We have full confidence in Commissioner Dramat and are certain that he will be more than equal to the task at hand. The liabilities that we are going to inherit from the DSO amount to approximately R250 million.

Honourable speaker

The loss of dockets continues to be a serious problem. While the SAPS have in the past developed systems intended to address this problem, these systems have not worked effectively. The SAPS are now working on the development of the e-docket and e-filing systems. Once finalised, these systems will need to be implemented with considerable vigour.

Honourable speaker

Failure to meet performance targets raises the question of the relationship between current performance management processes and set targets and priorities.

It is important that there is greater accountability for failure to meet targets. If a station is identified as a high crime incidence area and resources are allocated to that station, it should follow that subsequent failure ought to result in action being taken against its management.

We are seeking legal advice on the matter of willy-nilly concluding five year contracts with commissioners without giving due regard to performance.

What is clear is that, to address these challenges it cannot be business as usual. As the President stated, we need to see real operational energy in police work.

We will within a month, have a permanent national commissioner. The national commissioner will certainly have his work cut out to ensure accountability, coordination and consistent and effective communication.

Honourable members

The issue of rural safety is going to receive dedicated attention. There is a tendency for criminals to seek refuge in these areas when the situation gets too hot for them in urban areas and towns.

Stock theft syndicates operate in these areas and undermine the safety of communities. Village safety committees must be established as a matter of urgency.

Reservists have been used extensively in crime prevention operations. On 23 March this year, a summit was held to address the reservist system and challenges. The summit agreed that a task team should be appointed to consider the issue of permanent employment of reservists.

The first permanent intake of reservists in June/July will involve 1 100 reservists. These reservists will have to undergo proper training before they are deployed. The reservists will also be required to meet the standard selection criteria.

Honourable members

The war against crime must be taken to a new level. Indeed the use of the term war against crime must not be used merely as a slogan. Instead it needs to be translated into action.

The time for indifference, inefficiencies and lethargy is over and everything we do must and will be performance driven. The time of rewarding excellence is now.

South Africa ke nako!

Bahlompheg!

Re lebogile!

I thank you

 

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