Speech by the Minister of Police, EN Mthethwa, MP on the occasion of the NCOP Budget Vote, Parliament, Cape Town

1471

Chairperson

Ministers present

Deputy Minister of Police, Ms MM Sotyu

Chairperson of Select Committee on Security and Constitutional Development, M Mofokeng;

Honourable Members of the National Council of Provinces

South African Police Service (SAPS) Management present

Distinguished guests

Ladies and gentlemen

Chairperson,

2011, as declared by the President of the Republic, His Excellency Jacob Zuma on the occasion of the State of the Nation Address, is a Year of Job Creation.

The Constitution of the Republic, Section 205 (3) enjoins the South African Police Service (SAPS) to combat, prevent and investigate crime; to maintain public order, protect and secure the inhabitants of the Republic and their property, and to uphold and enforce the law.

The police are the institutional expression of the resolve by South Africans, as individuals and as a nation, to realise safety and security. The police are, and always must be, subject to the will of the people they serve. The challenge confronting all of us is to transform South Africa, to make of her a place of hope, security and human fulfillment.

Chairperson,
we are emphasising the aspect of the Constitution deliberately because all our actions must be guided by this highest law in the land. From effecting an arrest to securing convictions, we premise our actions in the letter and spirit of the Constitution. We therefore approach these tasks with all the seriousness they require.

Cooperation with police services in the region and further afield will be intensified whilst border control will continually be tightened. In introducing these measures, we proceed from the premise that crime is a scourge that does not respect borders, with syndicates that have made the entire globe the theatre of their evil operations.

The eradication of women and children abuse is central to the fight against crime. This requires deliberate programmes of education and other measures to transform gender and family relations, the retraining of justice administrators, the police and the provision of the necessary resources to ensure the safety and restore the dignity of the victims.

In brief, our programme in this financial year, 2011/12 consists of achieving better policing, a better-trained and efficient criminal justice system, and involvement of all in our society to fight against crime.

We ensured safe and secure Local Government Elections 2011

As the leadership of police, enjoined by many in society, we want to take this opportunity to commend our police officers for ensuring that the Local Government Elections were conducted under a safe environment. We deployed approximately 75 000 police officers who were supported by South African Defence Force (SANDF), the intelligence community and various government departments.

Our members safeguarded all polling stations, transportation of ballot boxes, counting process and perform general crime-prevention duties.  In the end, almost all in society including IEC, commended our officers for a job well done.

Chairperson,

Whilst our energies we focused on the elections, we also ensured that normal policing continued unabated in all communities, whether one looked at police visibility or operations at various key crime hot spots.

The success of the safety of these elections can be attributed to proper planning on our side, but importantly, the kind of support we received from all law-abiding citizens of our country. We are therefore confident that as we move forward, this working-together approach will be sustained.

Successes of the Hawks

The following successes were achieved by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI) since 1 April 2010 until 31 March 2011. In tackling commercial crime, the Hawks arrested 8 294 and secured 5 267 convictions; when it comes to organised crime they further arrested 2 439 and secured 532 convictions from 1 April 2010 to 31 March 2011.

During the period under review, the directorate profiled and pursued 50 most wanted suspects for armed robberies, ATM bombings cash-in-transit and bank robberies and apprehended 49 and only one suspect is still at large. The tracing team is on hot pursuit of the last suspect.

Chairperson,

Other notable successes relate to intensifying the war on corruption. The directorate has established an Anti Corruption Unit that deals with corruption within the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) Cluster.

An Anti Corruption Task team was established which is a collaboration of different departments with one common goal to deal with a specific mandate in terms of Output five of the Government’s Delivery Agreement; to investigate, prosecute and convict 100 people by 2014 and restrain illicit assets worth R5 million per individual.

In conjunction with the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, the Directorate became involved in the probe of the municipalities under the banner of Operation Clean Audit and significant progress has been made.

A dedicated capacity was created in the provinces to investigate and combat corruption within local government. A total of 362 cases were received for investigation of which 144 public officials and 120 members of the public appeared in court. Out of the same number the following convictions were achieved, 60 being public officials and 29 members of the public.
2010/11 Operation duty calls festive season successes

Our police operations focused on contact and trio crimes, concentrating on aggravated robbery, including residential and business robberies and carjacking, in addition to the securing of shopping malls and the combating of ATM blasts. Border security was included in this focus, together with social crime prevention operations dealing with the most vulnerable victims of crime.

There were a total of 321 013 arrests during the operation, 4 509 firearms were seized, including 1 697 magazines and 46 678 rounds of ammunition. Seizures included, inter alia, 3 638 vehicles, 11 648 kilograms of dagga and 17 682, 19 019 mandrax tablets.

Reduction of the forensics backlogs

We have placed more focus in addressing some of the challenges that faced this unit in the past. The overall backlog within the Forensic Science Laboratory declined significantly by 66% from 1 April 2010 to 31 March 2011.

We are happy to announce to the nation that, at this point in time we do not have any backlogs in the forensic DNA and those matters that we have on record, fit within the prescribed 35 days turn-around time.

This success will go a long way in helping the police reduce crime but importantly, to secure convictions. In the main, while the issue of successful convictions lies with the courts, on our part as police, the kind of investigations coupled by forensic analysis will have an important impact.

Discovery of arms caches

The recent discovery of arms caches across the country were not random occurrences or pure coincidences. These successes were achieved through coordinated efforts. We plan properly. We execute those plans with precision and smartness. We are succeeding because we have the resolve and support of the communities.

These operations have all demonstrated that we have the capacity to make a significant impact on crime. We must now utilise that experience and the infrastructure as part of our general approach in the fight against crime.  Now more than ever, we are working tirelessly to make life difficult for criminals in our midst.

Tightening our legislative processes

In previous budget speeches we have mentioned the need to strengthen Civilian Oversight of the Police and the Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD).

To address this, last year we introduced two separate pieces of legislation covering both the ICD and Civilian Secretariat for Police. We are happy to say that both bills have been passed by Parliament and will now be enacted in the coming year.

The fact that we have introduced these bills before introducing other pieces of legislations, affirms our seriousness that this government and ministry have neither desire nor likelihood of this country, at any point moving sliding towards a police state.

In changing the focus and the name of the Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD) to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID), we are sending a clear message that the new body will focus on not just processing complaints but the emphasis is on developing strong investigative capacity. We also seek to investigate substantial systemic defects in policing and general corruption.

This Civilian Secretariat for Police Bill gives effect to that separation of powers and functions and will ensure that we have a strong civilian oversight body that operates as a designated department, reporting directly to myself on all matters.

Progress on the establishment of a Single Police Service

In our previous Budget Speech we also mentioned the need to address section 205 of the Constitution and the need for us to look at the imperatives and feasibility of establishing a single police service.

Last year we tasked the Civilian Secretariat for Police with investigating the feasibility of this approach. A draft document is now with my office and is under discussion. The results of these discussions will then be incorporated into the current processes to review of the SAPS Act.

Review of the SAPS Act

This year we are going to ensure that that bill is brought before Parliament and this revision will be preceded by a review of the White Paper for Safety and Security.

The White Paper was finalised in 1998 and since then there have been changes in the policing environment that need to be incorporated and reflected in our policy and approaches. The finalised review of the White Paper will then become the policy framework for the amendments and revision of the SAPS Act.

Introduction of the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSIRA) Bill

We will also be introducing a revised Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority Bill in order to address weaknesses and gaps in our regulation of the private security industry.

Over the last 18 months we have seen a significant decline in the number of cash-in-transit robberies. As part of sustaining this decline, we have together with other role-players introduced preventative measures through information-sharing, particularly the banking sector.

Strengthening relations with all stakeholders

Work is under way to strengthen and where appropriate, formalize relationships with various stakeholders, with a view of tapping into the diverse skills which may not necessarily be available within SAPS. This effort involves partnerships with communities, civil society, business and other government departments.

We are also confronting a broad range of challenges on issues like CPFs, volunteer programmes, alignment of plans and activities. 

Implementation of the rural safety strategy

Dedicated focus is being given to the practical implementation of the rural safety strategy. In this regard, particular attention is being given to cross border crimes and stock theft in particular. The ministry, community organisations, agricultural organisations and trade unions continue to work together in addressing rural safety.

The effectiveness of the rural safety strategy will be assessed in terms of the reduction of levels of serious and violent crimes in rural areas. This assessment will be conducted on a monthly, quarterly and annual basis by means of monitoring reported levels of crime.

Capacitating the SAPS via skills development and recruiting

Skills development and the retention of skills remains a priority for 2011/12. Significant emphasis will be placed on detectives training. Coupled with this would be the re-skilling and retraining of police to ensure we produce quality cops as opposed to mere quantity.

Family violence and specialised units

During last year’s Budget Vote, we announced that the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences (FCS) units had to be re-established by 31 March 2011. This has been done and we continue to strengthen this prioritized area of our work. This is the commitment of the ANC government to protect those who are vulnerable in society, particularly women and children abuse.

Rooting out corruption within police ranks

The prevention, detection and investigation of corruption within the ranks of the SAPS will continue to be a major focus area for 2011/12. Emphasis will be put on the implementation of the SAPS’ Anti-Corruption Strategy aimed at curbing corruption and punishing those members with evil intentions.

The following successes were recorded during 2009/10: 119 SAPS members were dismissed following intensive investigations as a result of allegations of fraud and corruption in the 2009/10 financial year. 44 SAPS officials at Ports of Entries had been investigated in the 2009/10 financial year for various criminal charges. They were additionally charged via the SAPS internal disciplinary procedures. 

Implementation of a turn-around strategy around firearm control

The process instituted in November 2010 to address concerns about the implementation of the Firearms Control Act is continuing. Processes and procedures have been developed to deal with the inflow and outflow of applications. Management of personnel and resources has been improved.

Progress is being made towards clearing the backlog of applications for firearm licenses and should be finalised by 31 July 2011.

We also intend to bring to Parliament an amendment to the Firearms Control Act which will ensure more effective implementation of the principles of the Act; and tighten up on various loopholes.

However our focus is not just on firearms in hands of civilians but also we are going to ensure that firearms that are in the hands of police are properly managed.

A year of job creation

Chairperson,

The ANC-led government represents the hopes and aspirations of the majority of the people of our country. This government is the repository of the people`s resolve to end to violent crime, drug and substance abuse, women and child abuse – the embodiment of the people`s devotion for equality and national reconciliation.

The vision we share of a truly non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous society cannot be realised if we do not address successfully the issue of crime and criminality within our society. Our talks and deeds, as the entire SAPS must address the central issues of fighting crime, smartly and toughly. We dare not fail.

The crime statistics tell us that we are in the right direction. The communities we serve tell us so. Let us not be distracted. Tough as the duty may seem, we remain focused for the sky is not the limit when it comes to the safety of our citizens.

We must consolidate partnerships across society to strengthen social cohesion and ensure that our nation achieves the values of a caring society, inspired by the traits of human solidarity which informed our struggle against colonialism and apartheid.

To us as the leadership of the police, we also want to emphasize that 2011 is a Year of the Good Cop. Rise and shine in defence of your nation. This is our clarion call.

I thank you.



Issued by: South African Police Service
26 May 2011