Unabridged remarks: Police minister Nathi Mthethwa, Sandton parade, May 17

1225

Remarks by Minister of Police, E.N. Mthethwa, MP
at the Launch of the Gauteng-North West SAPS

Security Readiness and Good Ambassadors Campaign
for the 2010 FIFA World Cup,

Sandton, Gauteng

17 May 2010

Deputy Minister of Police, Fikile Mbalula;

National Police Commissioner, General Bheki Cele;

Premier of Gauteng, Ms Nomvula Mokonyane;

All MECs present;

All Executive Mayors present;

All SAPS Lieutenants General and senior officers present;

Head of Crime Line, Mr. Yusuf Abramjee;

SAFA CEO, Mr. Leslie Sedibe;

Bafana Bafana Management and Players present;

Business and Community Leaders present;

SHOUT Ambassadors present;

Distinguished Guests;

Members of the media;

Ladies and Gentlemen;

Exactly 24 days from today, our country will host the greatest football spectacle ever – the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The police leadership is feeling it. Police management is feeling it. All the 190 000 police members are feeling it. It is here.

We are particularly meeting following an impressive show of character by the nation’s pride – Bafana Bafana, who thrashed Thailand 4-0 yesterday. That great performance should send a strong signal to the world that Bafana Bafana are in high spirits and that we will not just be spectators during the World Cup. We believe the boys have now graduated from Boys to Men!

South Africans are ready. At every corner of our country, flags are hoisted high. Ticket sales are progressing. Stadia are ready. Airports are buzzing. Vuvuzelas are blaring. There is a new sense of a jovial mood. Indeed all these factors assert that, it is here.

As government we have intensified our approach by putting measures aimed at curbing crime, hence collectively it became apparent that things cannot be done the same way. Things must be done faster and smarter. We shall be fighting crime, toughly and smartly and we have no intentions of reneging from this stance.

It is precisely why government adopted a multi-faceted approach in dealing with crime in our country. We advocated for a strengthening, mobilization and integration of various structures such as community policing forums, community safety forums, business associations and faith-based organizations, local and international partners in order to defeat crime in our communities.

Our presence today as law enforcement agencies is to reiterate and affirm what we have been echoing since that historic day of May 15, 2004: South Africa will host the safest and most secure FIFA World Cup. To give essence to the country’s commitment, we are excited to officially launch our Gauteng and North West SAPS Good Ambassador Campaign and 2010 FIFA World Cup Readiness programme.
1The SAPS Good Ambassador Campaign is mainly aimed at instilling the spirit of good ambassadorship, not only to our members, but also to all citizens of the country. It is about showing positive attitude, extending a warm and proudly South African welcome to all our visitors. Particularly to our police, to go beyond their normal call of duty and provide assistance irrespective of what sector it is that the information is required. This after all, is what embodies a good cop.

While these are SAPS initiatives, in essence they are campaigns to make all South Africans great ambassadors. The good work of police will not go unnoticed. As police leadership we are determined to accord due acknowledgement to good performance.

The consciousness which we are building within the police as a whole is that our force must understand the issue of crime intelligence and intelligence generally in policing is pivotal. So it is important that whatever we do we are guided by that. Our own analysis points out to an importance of methodical investigations of criminal cases to determine the outcome of a case.

Our recent experience has shown us that the strengthening of our intelligence and detectives has helped in crime prevention. Through these pillars in our fight against crime, we have detected and thwarted criminal acts before they take place. This further gives credence to the caliber of intelligence and detectives we have in our midst.

In other words, any successful conviction of a criminal case is not dependent on the severity of that particular crime, but dependent on how much work has been done towards its investigation. This therefore become a crucial component in the whole value chain of the Criminal Justice System.

Ladies and gentlemen,
the Police Force is ready. This is the message we shared with South Africans over the past year and we shall be articulating to our 2010 visitors. As they descend in our shores, we shall leave no stone unturned to guarantee their safety. Police will be everywhere, ready for any eventuality. This is the epitome of our security plan; we will cover every corner because we do not have any no-go-areas.

As thousands of visitors descend to our shores in the coming weeks, we are aware that criminals may want to take advantage as well. We are happy to deliver the bad news to them. Our co-operation with police services in the region and further afield will be intensified and border controls will be continually tightened. It will therefore not be a free-for-all.

Our comprehensive plan looks at the smallest of issues, whether it be the protection of a soccer ball to the biggest form of criminality such as terrorism. While no country can stand boldly and pronounce that it is immune from terrorism, what becomes critical is, should such an act occur, how do we respond? What makes us even more alert in our security planning is that, South Africa will be hosting the whole world and therefore we will take no chances.

Knowingly, terrorists are in their common nature obsessed with making their selfish actions recognized by targeting international events. We shall spare neither strength nor effort in ensuring the safety of all citizens and visitors.

The players, the officials, the fans, the fan parks across the country, even the prized trophy – our plan looks at them as prized treasures and no one-size-fits-all approach shall be applied. As we continue to feel it, we caution those who want to distract our jovial moods, that indeed they will feel the police fire, for it is already burning. Umlilo waMaphoyisa uzokushisa tsotsi, ungalokothi uwothe!

In brief, our security plans consist of achieving better policing, efficient criminal justice system and involvement of various local and international partners. This must leave a lasting security legacy that must guarantee further attraction of visitors post the tournament.

However police operations alone cannot resolve this trend. The tourists have a critical role to play as well. As they would do in any country globally, we urge them to exercise caution notably when they need general information, to consult the 2010 one-stop information resources which are available across the country.

We once again wish to reiterate that our readiness ranges from personnel to state-of the art equipment, information, communication and technology and cooperation with the security agencies from the 31 participating countries. Furthermore, at the beginning of March this year in Zurich, Switzerland, we presented our comprehensive security plan to all the police chiefs from the 31 participating countries. The police chiefs brought with them their security experts and the plan was given a resounding approval.

The simulations we all witnessed earlier today, show that police are ready and feeling it. For those criminals who want to put us on a litmus test, we dare you and you will find us ready. And mind you these are just simulations, but for those who ignore our warnings and are later found engaging in criminal activities, they will not experience simulations but the wrath and real umlilo wamaphoyisa (police fire).

We are on a daily basis making great inroads in dealing a deadly blow to these heartless scoundrels. Through utilizing our early warning intelligence which enables us to deal with issues relating to any form of crime; whether they be serious crime, narcotics, illegal firearms or border security, we remain convinced that from a security perspective, the 2010 FIFA World Cup is well secured.

There were a significant number of successes in counter narcotics trafficking and drug related crimes which can be contributed to intelligence-driven undercover and network operations investigations. We are currently investigating one syndicate consisting of 19 members that is involved in trafficking motor vehicles between the South Africa, Botswana and Zambia.

We have cracked another multi-million rand car-theft syndicate by arresting eight licensing officials who allegedly provided false registration documents for the stolen vehicles. These arrests are part of an ongoing operation, where 721 vehicles valued at R83 million were seized and 55 people arrested.

We are under no illusion of the magnitude of the 2010 FIFA World Cup but neither are we under any pressure to prove anything to the world. We have successfully hosted in excess of 400 international events since the dawn of democracy.

We are in charge. We are capable. We are feeling it. And together with our partners, we shall succeed in making this the most secure World Cup tournament ever. As we have done so many times in the past, let us rise to the occasion.

I thank you.