Unabridged speech, Minister of Police at the Western Cape launch of the 2010/11 Operation Duty Calls


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

Festive Season Crime-Fighting Campaign

Mfuleni Police Station, Western Cape
02 December 2010

Deputy Minister of Police, Ms Maggie Sotyu;

National Police Commissioner, General Bheki Cele;

All SAPS Lieutenant Generals, Management and Staff present;

Chairperson of the National CPF Board, Mr Mandla Mphuthi;

Representatives from Business, SAPU, POPCRU and NGOs; 

Community of Kuilsrivier and surrounding areas;

Distinguished Guests;

Members of the media;

Ladies and Gentlemen;

We begin today’s address by reaffirming our commitment, that as police, we will never rest in our quest to fulfill our mandate of creating a safer and a secured South Africa.  Daunting as the task might be, we remain focused in our mission.  We are therefore neither retreating nor surrendering. 

At times, when we encounter certain challenges and difficult experiences in the fight against crime, we derive strength from knowing that the battle is not just ours.  We are encouraged because we have the steadfast support and commitment of all law-abiding citizens of the Republic. 

This magnificent structure (newly-built Mfuleni police station) we have in front of us must not just remain a structure.  It must become a beacon of hope to those who have been affected by crime.  It must also instill fear to those heartless and cold-blooded scoundrels. 

What we have ahead of us is a protracted war that must, at the end result in the defeat of crime and criminality.   We therefore affirm that the Mfuleni police station must represent an end of fear, pain, and uncertainty of coming back home alive when you left for work.

We commend police in Western Cape for their successes in dealing a blow to crime.  Since the 18th October till 30th November 2010, police have arrested in total 9 553 criminals; including 57 for murder, attempted murder 26, rape for 56, 270 for assault grievous bodily harm (GBH), a whooping 1 606 for drug related cases as well as 582 for driving under the influence of alcohol. 

Moreover, during the operations 547 stolen vehicles were recovered, 45 illegal firearms recovered and 494 fines issued for violations relating to the Road Traffic Act.  Police further conducted 31 454 search and seizures.  As part of intensifying the war on crime in rural areas, police visited 3 275 farms during this period, which gives impetus to our rural safety plan.

Coupled with the opening of this police station, we are providing 44 vehicles to enable the police to perform their duties efficiently.  The days of police of taking hours to respond to victims of crime timesously or police saying they have insufficient vehicles must be a thing of the past. 

This morning we also witnessed a destruction of 10 000 bottles of alcohol which were confiscated during police operations around the Western Cape.  This destruction is a clear indication of the commitment of our government has in fighting illegal distribution and abuse of alcohol. The effect of the abuse of alcohol is causing untold suffering of families and also gives rise to committing of other social crimes.

This destruction did not come as a result of operations mounted by police alone, but the cooperation with our communities contributed significantly.  It will also give more hope to families that have been broken as a result of alcohol abuse.  We view this as a joint victory of the police and the communities.

In the recent past, government has promulgated the Second Hand Goods Act which criminalises the buyer and the seller of stolen goods.  We therefore call upon our people to desist from buying stolen goods, whether it is a TV, DVD or clothing.  Particularly during this festive season, police will double their efforts in search and seizures and arresting those who are found in possession of such.

We also warn criminals not to try and emulate ‘heroic acts from movies’ by shooting at police.  They must also not try to hide behind the book of the law or human rights, because there is no Constitution that gives criminals rights to shoot at police.  The right of criminals cannot supersede rights of law-abiding citizens.  No one is going to stand on our way towards the realization of peace, security and comfort.  Government is working around the clock in tightening up the whole criminal justice chain.

Our operations during this festive season will not just be focused in the cities or suburbs.  We will be everywhere.  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 house and business robberies, robbery of cash-in-transits 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.  High police visibility will be a central aspect to policing during this festive season.  Again this would talk to how, when and where we deploy our resources.  We are relooking at ensuring we spread our resources evenly and effectively.  This after all, is a new way of doing things, innovatively and speedily.

The only people who must have a jolly season are law-abiding citizens. Criminals must burn in prison. Theirs should be an unpleasant period of pain, fear and suffering.  As we indicated when we interacted with the communities in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and yesterday in North West, our approach is government-led, business-orientated and community-centred. 

This community-centred approach was demonstrated this week through an announcement of our recruitment strategy for police.  As communities you will now also have a say in terms of the police officers we recruit into the Force.  This demonstrates how serious we take the partnerships with communities; we do not only want you to become involved at the end of the value-chain.  We want you to help us attract and identify some of the best minds out there who can help us fight crime. 

We also need to advocate that society must not take the law into their hands.  Your task is to report these thugs to the police.  Police must then take over and do the right thing: make life very, very difficult for these scoundrels.  In taking the fight to the criminals, the communities of Kuilsrivier in partnership with police have a duty to reclaim our streets.  We require no permission from criminals to walk tall in our streets.

Criminals have for all intents and purposes, defined themselves as outcasts in the community and as such they must be treated.  The success of any operation depends in the active participation of the ordinary citizens of our country.  It is indeed a duty of every citizen of Kuilsrivier to report any criminal activity.  

After all, crime affects all the people of our country across class and colour. It is our common enemy.  For this reason, we remain firmly committed to strengthening partnerships with the people, to ensure the attainment of the goal of peace, security, and comfort for all.  As police leadership we shall ensure that we support you in your endeavours.  

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 criminality.

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. 

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

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Website: www.saps.gov.za