President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Thursday that women are taking their rightful place in the country’s police and security services, although much still needs to be done to close the gap.
He was addressing guests at the integrated Women In Law Enforcement Parade, in Gqeberha, in the Eastern Cape, as South Africa marks the last day of Women’s Month.
The gathering was attended by Police Minister Bheki Cele; Minister in the Presidency for Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma; Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane; and National Commissioner of the South African Police Service (Saps) General Fannie Masemola.
Ramaphosa said August was a month during which the country celebrated how far it had come in building a non-sexist society where women were free and equal and enjoyed the rights guaranteed by South Africa’s Constitution.
“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,” said Ramaphosa.
The President commended the unveiling of the DNA expansion project at the Forensic Science Laboratory at the Eben Donges Building, in Gqeberha, which is expected to address the severe backlogs in the analysis of DNA retrieved from crime scenes.
The project is driven by a woman: the Divisional Commissioner for Detective and Forensic Services, Lieutenant General Khosi Senthumule.
The President hopes that the new facility will help address all DNA issues, particularly investigations relating to gender-based violence and femicide cases.
He added that the improved forensic capabilities should expedite investigations, and help police build strong cases with solid evidence to enable the successful conviction of perpetrators.
Ramaphosa warned that people who commit crimes against women and children have no place in South African society.
“We depend on this and other forensic science laboratories across the country to make sure that these criminals are put in 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 six months ahead of the projected completion time and below budget. As we wrap up this Women’s Month, we appreciate all women in the integrated security and law enforcement agencies, across all the ranks,” he added.
The President went on to 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.