Speech: Mthethwa on BRICS Summit security



Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Ms Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula;

Lieutenant General Elias Mawela, Chairperson of NATJOINTS;

Various senior leaders from Government present;

Ladies and Gentlemen;

Members of the Media;

In less than 48 hours, as a country we will be hosting distinguished Heads of States and prominent leaders from across various geo-economic nations, who will be descending to our shores to attend the 5th Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) Summit, here in Durban.

The hosting of the BRICS Summit on our shores is a remarkable and significant occasion, the first time this important gathering being held in Africa generally and South Africa in particular. We need to upfront highlight that the Summit is not about security but focuses on the economic emancipation. What this translates to, is that those of us who are tasked with the safety and security mandate, have a duty to ensure that the environment under which these economic discussions take place, is secure against any disturbance.

Under the same tone, we would not of course miss an opportunity like this to pass, for this reason we shall be engaging our counterparts around security matters. There is no doubt that the hosting of this important gathering provides the South African government with an opportunity of sharing of experiences, tactics and mechanisms with all BRICS countries on crime and fighting corruption. We shall also tap into possible cooperation on various issues such as training in different areas of public safety.

As government we have developed a comprehensive security strategy to ensure the safety of Summit delegates. Over the past several months the security forces, relevant Government departments and other stakeholders have been attending Priority Committee meetings in order to ensure, in an integrated and coordinated manner, that all necessary security measures are in place for the Summit.

Uncompromising security measures have been implemented for the duration of the Summit. These include VIP safety; route, venue, city and accommodation security; a combined intelligence-agency and investigative capacity; crowd management and port of entry deployments; traffic control and rapid-response teams which can be deployed to deal with any contingency.

Law enforcement agencies will be everywhere, ready for any eventuality. We shall be deploying approximately 1 900 SAPS members, 1 100 designated officers drawn from other agencies including from Metro Police and Defence. In total we shall have a capacity of 3000 law enforcement officers and these are members who have acquired vast experience in policing major international events.

As with other special events successfully hosted over the past decade and longer, all security-related operations in relation to the BRICS Summit are being coordinated through the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NATJOINTS), together with their provincial counterpart in KwaZulu-Natal.

Perhaps some within society or internationally may assume that having successfully secured in excess of 500 international events since the dawn of democracy, we would be complacent. Well, when it comes to security we do not conform to any complacency. We are sharp, alert and shall spare neither strength nor effort in ensuring the safety of all citizens and our visitors.

The NATJOINTS was established as the operational arm of the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster following a Cabinet decision. The mandate of the NATJOINTS is to plan, implement, execute and monitor all inter-departmental and cross-provincial operations affecting safety, security and stability in our country.

South Africa, through the dedicated efforts of all departments operating as the NATJOINTS, has an internationally-recognised reputation as leaders in major event security and this operation will undoubtedly reinforce our good reputation.

Whilst this august gathering takes place, we have equally ensured that we do not compromise the safety of all law-abiding South Africans for the duration of BRICS. Whilst the local and global attention may be in Durban, normal policing will continue unhindered.

In conclusion, we are making a clarion call to all South Africans, as they had done on many occasions previous; to extend their warmth, humility and promote the spirit of goodwill that we are known for.

To our law enforcement agencies, we are saying: make us proud. Rise to the occasion and in the spirit of good ambassadorship, go beyond your normal call of duty and serve both our citizens and visitors with excellence.

I thank you.