Unabridged speech, Minister of Police at the KZN Launch of the 2010/11 Operation Duty Calls


Remarks by Minister of Police, E.N. Mthethwa, MP at the KZN Launch of the 2010/11 Operation Duty Calls

Festive Season Crime-Fighting Campaign

Bridge City Shopping Mall, KwaMashu, KZN
26 November 2010

National Police Commissioner, General Bheki Cele;

Representative of the Ethekwini Municipality, Clr Diana Hoorzuk;

Representatives from Business, CPFs, SAPU and POPCRU; 

All SAPS Lieutenant Generals, Management and Staff present;

Distinguished Guests;

Members of the media;

Ladies and Gentlemen;

On the occasion of our national launch of the 2010/11 Operation Duty Calls Festive Season Crime-Fighting campaign two weeks ago held in Soweto, we reaffirmed our commitment of safeguarding South Africans from all walks of life. 

Our presence this afternoon is to reiterate our call that as members of the South African Police Service, united in our efforts, commitment and vision, we shall ensure a safe and secure festive season. 

The provincial plan that was presented to General Cele earlier looks at covering all the aspects of policing during this period.  It is not a plan that was developed haphazardly, but took months of planning, consultation, sharing of ideas and we remain confident that its success shall be seen and realized by all law-abiding citizens.

Whether one looks at the different skills and resources at our disposal, whether from Intelligence, Detective, Visible Policing, Forensics, etc we shall all work in a smart and coordinated manner to ensure that all residents enjoy a crime-free festive season. 

In essence, we will aggressively increase the number of police on patrol at malls, taxi ranks, recreational areas as well as identified key ‘hot spots.’  Operations will focus on aggravated robberies, including house robberies, business robberies, robbery of cash in transit as well as vehicle hijackings.  We are also focusing on social crime-prevention ooperations dealing with contact crimes like assault, murder, rape and crimes especially against women and children.

When it comes to the safety of society we shall be taking no chances.  In fact those scoundrels who think this is a jolly season and assume that they shall become jolly by robbing and killing, they are so mistaken.  Our approach is government-led, business-orientated and community-centred.  That is why today we are calling upon our men and women in blue to stand guard to defend the nation.

We also wish to take this opportunity to appeal to some within society, particularly politicians in this province to resist from making unfounded accusations about our Force.  Those politicians and analysts, who have a desire to contribute towards crime, are more than welcome to do so through sound inputs. 

Police stations are not political stations or arenas.  They have never been and should never be.  We want our police to be given space to fight this scourge.  Such reckless and unfounded accusations, such as grandstanding for the sake of grasping headlines, serve no good cause in our mission. 

Let us reiterate our unmovable policing approach, particularly in this province.  We shall continue to fight crime, smarter and tougher.  As the President of the Republic said from day one to all of us when he tasked us with this tough, yet achievable mandate – we must do things faster and smarter, and differently.

That is why when formulating approaches and systems to deal with crime, we had to assess the kind of beast we are faced with, which is crime.  That is why we needed to be unambiguous about our message out there, whether we are talking about the police, whether we are talking about the instilling a non-negotiable discipline with the Force.  

Society would know that as the leadership and management of the Force, we have an open-door policy and welcome contributions to dealing with crime.  However just like any other open-door policy, there are limitations.  One such limitation is discipline by our members.  That is why we shall not compromise, either you become disciplined or else we would have to kindly and nicely request those who are opposing this stance, to leave the Force before being pushed.  After all, when a person is pushed, accidents do happen.

We wanted people and even our own police members to know that those who find themselves on the other side of the law, we will be acting and acting toughly.  But at the same time we came up with a way of working smartly.  If we take for instance the concept of War Rooms, which is a combination of intelligence work, police visibility and the application of a communication strategy.  This is one of the best ways of dealing with policing in South Africa.  In it there is a very significant presence of detective capacity of the SAPS.

The other vital aspect that we believe will go a long way in helping us maintain discipline within the Force, is instilling a civic education to all our members.  This must not be done at a time when one has already joined the Force but should be incorporated at the recruitment phase.  Police shall not only be expected to clearly know and understand the Constitution but must ensure that implement without fail each letter of Constitution. 

General Cele’s new approach of rotational management is mostly welcome by this leadership.  As you would do in every organization, rotational management system is not a new phenomenon.  We see companies applying this philosophy with one clear objective, that is, to ensure they achieve maximum business results. 

We are therefore surprised if not let down by some in society who question when SAPS transfers and rotates some of its management.  Let us allow the General and his committed men and women space to deliver on their duties.  We are supportive of our management and have every confidence in their capability.

Change is inevitable if we are serious about putting a dent on this evil scourge.  Command and control in the Force is not a privilege, but a principle.  It is not a favour but a formula.  We felt that there were some areas where it was obvious that lack of discipline was the order of the day, hence the crime statistics confirmed pointed to this gap. 

We saw, for example, how the marshalling of their forces by commanders, who were station commissioners at police stations, left much to be desired.  You found people running police stations from offices at their homes, not knowing and not taking the police through a parade in the morning.  To make it worse, not knowing who is and who is not there. 

Today’s anti-crime campaign here in KZN is significant in that it takes place during one of the important calendar campaigns in our country.  Government and all sectors of society have embarked on the national 16 Days of Activism campaign to fight violence against women and children. The United Nations endorsed campaign started yesterday (International Day of No Violence against Women) and ends on 10 December (International Human Rights Day) each year with the aim of reinforcing the year-long 365 Days Programme.

We commend police in KZN for their successes in dealing a blow to crime.  Since the 1st November 2010 till today, police have arrested 10 195 criminals, including 303 for murder, 411 for rape, 57 for sexual assault, 1768 for assault grievous bodily harm (GBH), a whooping 2184 for drug related cases.  In addition, 547 stolen vehicles were recovered, 396 illegal firearms recovered and 494 fines issued for violations relating to the Road Traffic Act.

During the operations, police seized various forms of drugs including cocaine, mandrax and dagga.  What is even more disturbing is that some criminals attack HIV/AIDS-infected patients robbing them of their anti-retroviral pills.  These pills, we are told are then mixed with other substances and the mixture is known as ‘wunga.’  We shall continue to intensify these operations in the coming days and more arrests are expected. 

Our campaign of no violence against women and children has recorded important progress over the last 11 years.  It also allows us as police to recommit our efforts to ensure safer communities.  We urge men and women in blue from all corners of our country, to lead from the front.  The nation needs you.  Our women and children need you.  Let us rise to the call. 

The leadership and management of police remain firmly committed to the realization of the goal of a better life for all. This better life cannot be reality if women and children are not safe against criminals.  The emancipation of women cannot triumph if they are not safe from abuse and harm.

For as long as women and children cannot walk freely from the streets of Kwa-Mashu to Durban city, from eNtshongweni to Umlazi without fear of the being raped and victimized.  For as long as women are excluded from the joyful procession of freedom, honour, dignity and happiness; we cannot and should not claim that women are free.

Fighting Crime – It Begins With Me.  Ukulwisa Ubugebengu – Kuqala Kimina.

I thank you.

Zweli Mnisi

Chief Director: Communications/Spokesperson

Ministry of Police

Republic of South Africa

Tel: +27 (0)12 393 4341 & +27 (0)21 467 7007

Fax: +27 (0)12 393 2833 & +27 (0)21 467 7033

Mobile: +27 (0)82 045 4024

Email: [email protected]

Website: www.saps.gov.za