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


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

Festive Season Crime-Fighting Campaign

Ackerville Stadium, Witbank, Mpumalanga
30 November 2010

MEC for Community Safety, Security and Liaison, Mr Vusi Shongwe;

National Police Commissioner, General Bheki Cele;

District Mayor of Ekangala, Mr Speedy Mashilo;

Chairperson of the National CPF Board, Mr Mandla Mphuthi;

Representatives from Business, SAPU, POPCRU and Sports; 

All SAPS Lieutenant Generals, Management and Staff present;

Distinguished Guests;

Members of the media;

Ladies and Gentlemen;

Our crusade of interacting with communities which began in Soweto three weeks ago, is gaining momentum.  As we criss-cross the length and breadth of the country, more and more South Africans are rallying behind us in creating safe and secure communities.

The Operation Duty Calls Festive Season campaign is not a mere crusade of empty words and paying lip-service but a government-led and community-orientated campaign.  We are therefore excited that today we are enjoined by the community of Emalahleni as we affirm our message that during this festive season, only law-abiding citizens will have a jolly good season. 

We congratulate police in Mpumalanga in recording successes since the commencement of the operations from 1st November 2010 until today.  Police have arrested in total 1 589 criminals, including 40 for murder, 58 for armed robbery, 14 for hijacking, 25 for house robberies, and 22 for business robberies. In addition, 131 for rape, 818 assault GBH, 215 for burglary at residential areas, 56 for stock theft, 58 illegal firearms recovered and 5154 police initiated crimes (cases dependent on proactive police action such as violation of road traffic acts, raids to illegal liquor outlets).

We know for a fact that the majority of South Africans passionate, caring and anti-crime citizens. 

We know for a fact that these vicious actions of rape, murder and robberies are actually carried out by a tiny minority among us.  This should therefore make all of us look ourselves in the mirror and reflect on the kind of society we want to live in. Much as apartheid was defeated through a common commitment and working-together, the crime scourge shall be defeated through working as a collective.

We are cognizant that government will not, by itself, address the crime problem.  Members of society are expected to form part of efforts to address crime and corruption, by participating in community policing forums and more directly, by reporting crime and corruption to police wherever they encounter these. 

We shall continuously without fail, continue to urge our communities to refrain from buying stolen goods, more especially around this festive period.  It cannot be a normal situation that while some people labour very hard to better their lives, others would assume that they can easily gets what does not rightfully belong to them.  As government, we have taken several steps to address this challenge, both through practical policing as well as legislatively.

As most South Africans would know, the Second Hand Goods Act has been promulgated. The attendant regulations have been published for public comment.   This Act will help us to reduce the market and marketability of stolen goods.  We are serious and intent on dealing a telling blow to this destructive activity. Consequently, we shall work to combine the current legislative measures with other campaigns, including communicating a message to communities not to buy stolen goods.   Siyanicela bakithi ukuthi ninga thengi ebafaneni abathi bona bayazula ngoba umlilo wamaphoyisa uzonishisa.

During last year’s festive season launch in Mpumalanga, we ensured notable successes in the reduction of various forms of crime.  These included declines in domestic violence, rape and house-breaking incidents. These can be attributed to amongst others, community support, proper policing strategies and commitment from our Force. 

The other critical aspect related to tight monitoring of local shebeens which have significant bearings on some of the atrocious crimes.  For some reason that is unbeknown to us, South Africans have a tendency to not only abuse alcohol during this season, but also tend to drive recklessly.  We shall be tightening the screws in these areas and shall have no mercy on anyone found on the wrong side of the law. 

Some of the victories we scored were undermined by certain disturbing trends relating to robbing of the elderly.  We have been alerted to some of the employees swindled our grandparents’ pensions.  These cowards deserve no place in society.

It clearly shows lack of respect both for their grandparents and sense of self.  Such a crime is a static manifestation of the evil of criminals who are intent of robbing, un-armed and helpless elderly people.  Working with our sister departments such as Social Development and South African Social Security Agency, we shall seek, find and severely punish them!

Asifuni lutho ngabo gogo nabo mkhulu bethu. Nisibona sinje ku ngenxa ye mfundiso yabo, ngakho ke uma lemighulugutho seyi hlukumeza abo gogo nabo mkhulu bethu, bazosithola sibamele singamaphoyisa.  Wa thinta abogogo nabo mkhulu, uzasha tsotsi!

We also welcome the presence and commitment of business at today’s launch.  This year we have begun strengthening our relationships with business, with emphasis on small businesses.  This is because small businesses are the worst hit when it comes to business robberies.  In strengthening our fight against crime we have identified the need to improve our information and intelligence gathering. 

It is important to recognize that the police need to do more to assist and protect these small businesses.  However we are also aware that certain factors make these businesses particularly vulnerable to such robberies. Issues like the availability of cash the unavailability of resources to implement crime prevention measures contributes to making these businesses vulnerable. 

Today marks day 5 of the national 16 Days of Activism campaign to fight violence against women and children. We need to reflect as a society and the Force, to say are our women and children only safe during the 16 days? Surely if we can ensure their safety during this period, we can carry this approach for the next 365 days?

This is not a philosophy but a reality that we can deliver on.  If there is one specific focus we are placing to police in this province during this period, is ensuring that abogogo bethu (our grannies) are safe from vicious criminals.  Let them enjoy their pensions without fear of being robbed by these useless scoundrels.

We take this time to once again, as the leadership of the Force, to re-emphasize that we shall continue with our efforts, unhindered, to transform the SAPS.  We shall not be deterred by those who seek to distract us from this mission.  In the process of transformation, we have put more emphasis on managerial aspects of the police, coupled with command and control.  We are now instilling a sense of urgency in the Force.  Without a clear sense of the chain of command, field accountability is at risk.

We need to advocate to the eMalahleni community and society in general not to take the law into their own hands.  Any act of vigilantism shall be punished, irrespective of whatever reason that may be advanced.  Your task as communities is to report these thugs to the police. 

Ngakho siyanicela ningu mphakathi kuzo zonke izifunda zase Mpumalanga nasezweni lonke, ukuthi nibambisane namaphoyisa ekulweni nobugebengu. Ngeke sivumele izigebengu ukuthi zenze nje ngoba zithanda ngomphakathi wakithi.

The police are recording success on a daily basis in the fight against crime.  This means that government is in charge.  Police are in charge in this instance. Collectively we have a responsibility to ensure that Mpumalanga remains safe.

Fighting Crime – It Begins With Me. 

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