Unabridged speech, Deputy Minister of Police Fikile Mbalula, May 6, 2010


Speech delivered by the Deputy Minister of Police, Honourable Fikile Mbalula, on the occasion of the 2010/11 Safety and Security budget vote, Old Assembly chamber
6 May 2010

Honourable chairperson

Minister of Police, Comrade Nathi Mthethwa

Honourable Members of Parliament

Distinguished guests

Comrades and compatriots

Ladies and gentlemen

Fellow South Africans

On occasion like this, it is always important to acknowledge the important role that we play in the advancement of safety and security of our country through a dedicated and supported human resource in blue. The past year has been of warning shots and as President Jacob Zuma stated, we are about action more than anything else. The time to hug, kiss and massage crime has lapsed; a new cadre police officer has arrived.

Minister and honourable members, allow me to rewind back to the crisis and low morale in our country in the year 2006, where every corner of our society was about crime reaching an untenable situation, where criminals roamed our streets freely without any fear of arrest. The nature of crime at the time was lethally dangerous and aggravating, that necessitated a call by members of the society to request the military intervention in the fight against crime, we refused believing in the utilisation of the police in the fight against crime.

When we started we vocally said Washa Tsotsi! And indeed we are still there. We said we will ensure that all the legislative loopholes are addressed and we will strengthen and sharpen all the instruments that will help us to rid ourselves of this traitor amongst our midst.

We did say, honourable members that Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD) should bite, the secretariat should assume shape and Criminal Procedure Act should be attended to and usher in a single police force under one command centre, which Minister Mthethwa has highlighted in his speech. We are enough.

Children should live life of children without fear of rape or molestation. Women should be free to walk at anytime of the day and night, without fear or violation and abuse. Police should be empowered to fight for the weaker within our society. We stand by that. Forward ever, backward never!

The South African Police Service currently consumes 190 000 police personnel, in the fight against crime. This places us as one of the leading labour consuming department. The kind of police man and woman we had, needed some serious attention, to ensure that we are equal to the task.

We needed personnel with integrity, cadre police officer who’ll deliver us from these misbehaving amoebas in the name of tsotsis. From the 2006 crime backdrop, we furiously invaded the criminal space with the ferocity of the cornered bull and the agility of a cat. In doing so, we were mindful of the existing laws governing our country that needed our careful consideration in executing our task.

South Africa currently has fared well in terms of crime reduction; this is showcased by the successful operations especially during the peak period of last year, Festive Season. It should be noted that crime fighting is a commitment and dedication by all of us. Crime is not a friend of man or woman but an enemy of life and success.

It is therefore our dedication to reduce the cancer that has taken over our malls, streets, homes and ensure that it be fought jointly by all. That is the reason why the police under the new administration and leadership of President Jacob Zuma, introduced for the first time, partnership as a standalone, special programme.

In this regard, partnership will involve all various stakeholders under one roof, to design ways and means to reduce crime and its manifestations at local level. This is a structured and coordinated way under the auspices of the community safety forums.

The community safety forums, brings together, various government departments, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), community based organisations (CBOs), business, youth and women organisations, religious, inter-faith and traditional leaders, media and the research and academia in the fight against crime. So far we have had successful engagements with various stakeholders to ensure that we are all showing our faces and stand up to be counted in the fight against crime in this country.

Minister, honourable members, former President Nelson Mandela on the occasion of his inauguration said: “A person who does, what any other person does, is an ordinary person. A person who does, what no other person can do, is an exception, BUT, a person who has done what no other person has ever done, is an institution, a national asset, a hero. This is a person whom when he or she dies, we will be able to say; here lies a man or woman who has played his or her role in the society”.

This quote is befitting today, honourable members, because we want national heroes and heroines. We want national assets and institutions in our country in the fight against crime. We need a cadre in the fight against crime, we said and we are saying to all members of the society stand up and are counted in the fight against crime.

Sector policing is still the basis of our policy. As already alluded to before; a national sector policing instruction and revised implementation framework has been developed to fine tune our sector policing approach and ensure that through it we are able to unleash that well deserved, much awaited, fatal blow to crime in our crime.

By November 2009, sector policing had been implemented in all 169 high contact crime stations in line with the revised implementation framework. By the end of June 2010, sector policing would have been implemented in all police stations identified as provincial priority stations. Ladies and gentlemen we are proud to say together we really can do more in the fight against crime.

Vital tools that support the implementation of the crime prevention strategies include sector policing, reservists and community policing forums. These tools assist in the monitoring and assessment of the police officer. We are in the process to also assist with the issue of redefining and re-modelling the role of community policing forums, where they will have less of being Tea-ladies and stuur-boys at the police stations. A process for redefining their nature and character is in place, as per pronouncement made last year during the Reservists Summit.

A national task team was established during Reservists Summit, to consider employment related matters and facilitate the recruitment of qualifying reservists as permanent employees of the South African Police Service (SAPS). Recruitment drives were implemented in all nine provinces and a total of 2 733 reservists were recruited as South African Police Service Act members and 532 were recruited as Public Service Act members.

The engagement with the youth, as the major generation that is under the spotlight especially in wrongs choice of role modelling in our society is going to be one of the major highlights of the year. Working together with the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) and other relevant stakeholders we will be able to win over the fight to release our youth from getting motivated by opulence that cannot be accounted for.

We will, through the pen and paper have an engagement with media, sport, music and business organisations to ensure our young minds are part and parcel of the solution for the future and better of the country. Together for our youth we will do more!

Minister, honourable members, credits should be given where it is due, I am humbled to stand here today, to congratulate the efforts employed during the 2009 Festive Season launch of Operation Duty Calls. The police embarked on various visible policing operations countrywide, interacting with communities, business and various organised structures with an objective of intensifying our fight against crime, Washa Tsotsi! No place to hide, in a hole, we dig it and sikuphathe!

During this time we witnessed and experienced a significant decline in various crimes including the cash in transits, armed robberies, house breakings or robberies and business robberies, particularly business robberies.

When we started with our crime combating strategies, our message to these gun totting merciless criminals, was clear, “you owned our streets now let’s help you to your jail cell where you belong”. The resounding success of the operations brought us a positive feedback from business and communities. We also owe our strategic and tactical work to, where we introduced, after careful analysis of the brutal nature of the crimes committed by these criminals, the tactical response team.
“Re ipela ka digatlhamela masisi tsa rona”, our tactical response teams are existing cluster police stations as well as the international airports. Currently there are 711 members trained and deployed in various clusters and airports. They have shown a clear visibility in high crime spots too, especially at shopping malls where these criminals have been mercilessly opening fire with innocent lives lost while enjoying their coffees. Firearms and their availability have been a pain in the life of innocent South Africans, as there are firearms in wrong hands. Amasi abekw’elangeni! The jug is up.

This necessitated an urgent attention, told by the fact that 70 percent of aggravated robberies, are committed with firearms or firearms become the weapon of choice. We then adopted a comprehensive strategy to address the circulation and easy availability of these firearms and ammunition. It is also thanks to the support given to the police by Parliament last year, by declaring 11 January to 11 April 2010 Firearms Amnesty period through the constitutional powers vested and accorded to the Minister of Police.

South Africa has a significant pool of illegal firearms in circulation which contribute to high rate of serious and violent crime. The source of these illegal firearms, range from stolen firearms from members of the public, to illegally smuggling them in the country through our borders.

A lot was achieved during this process with members of the community voluntarily surrendering for the destruction of licensed firearms through the process prescribed in the firearms control regulations and also assisted in allowing those who missed cut off date for re-licensing to license their weapons in terms of the Firearms Control Act.

We are encouraged and happy that 46 262 weapons were received through our police stations as a result of the amnesty period. 12 179 of this number were illegal and 27 119 were legal firearms voluntarily surrendered. And during this period, again 6 964 were confiscated by the police.

Minister, honourable members, it should also be noted that the society we live in had negative sentiments they raised about this amnesty process, with others encouraging people not to heed the call. But we are happy South Africans are responsible and cannot be dragged back by those with evil intention.

In order to achieve our goals in the transformation of the police service, especially focusing on leadership, gender parity, representivity and personnel the existing affirmative action programmes will be continued and we are not closing any gap whatsoever to any more loopholes in this programme. What we are saying clearly it is that, where necessary and needs arises additional programmes will be instituted.

A thorough and intensive effort will also take centre stage in promoting gender equity within the department, thus, developing and appointing deserving women in decision making positions. The people with disabilities will not be left behind on the subject, as a required two percent target achievement being enhanced.

The leadership of police has identified command and control as one of the major problems experienced in the management of the personnel, especially at police station level. Through this finding, an essential training tool kit for commanders at station level is needed not only to provide them with operational and tactical skills relevant to these jobs, but also to skill them for their daily operations. The department will be creating various pools of skilled staff who will in future be competent station commanders.

Through police, community partnership and increase in media and public confidence in the police the fight against crime will be enhanced. Through communication by SAPS lies the success to be achieved by arrest, seizures and convictions, in relation to contact crimes, serious crimes and organised syndicates.

Furthermore honourable members, opportunity exists for communication through marketing of SAPS capacity building programmes. We will arrest more criminals through enhanced communication.

In conclusion, on behalf of the minister and the entire police force, allow me to make a special mention and send my gratitude to Women in SAPS Airwing and peacekeeping missions. These are women who have shown that they are as strong and able as their male counterparts. Gone are those we used to place you in the client service centres.

We also would like to congratulate all those recipients of SAPS Service awards from various provinces. We are proud of you and we believe as President Mandela said: “You are the national assets, the heroes and heroines of the nation”. You are the institution within which SAPS and South Africa and its people heed.

I thank you!

Issued by: Ministry of Police
6 May 2010

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