Unabridged speech, Minister of Police Nathi Mthethwa, May 6, 2010

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Speech by the Minister of Police, EN Mthethwa, MP on the occasion of the budget vote no 24 and 22, Parliament, Cape Town

6 May 2010

Chairperson

Deputy Minister of Police, FA Mbalula

Chairperson of Portfolio Committee on Police, Ms S Chikunga

National Commissioner of Police, General BH Cele

SAPS Management present

Honourable Members of Parliament

Distinguished guests

Ladies and gentlemen

The fundamental aim of our government is to build a society where our people will enjoy a dignified, improving quality of life and freedom. However crime, corruption as well as the proliferation of firearms in our society, stands in direct opposite of achieving this goal.

Inevitably, freedom does not create itself. Crime does not simply disappear; we must create conditions that will make crime disappear. This requires a concerted, united action by all South Africans. We must undertake to ensure that our society changes for better and that our freedom is advanced, not undermined.

Our strategic perspective in the fight against crime is mainly premised on two considerations. Firstly, the battle against crime cannot be separated from the war on want. Secondly, the deviant activities by the few amongst us should not be allowed.

Chairperson,

2010 is a year of action: Ensuring that all people in South Africa are, and feel safe. As declared by the President of the Republic, His Excellency Jacob Zuma on the occasion of the State of the Nation Address, government shall accelerate service delivery. He further made a commitment that work of government will be measured according to outcomes.

The mandate of our Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) cluster accordingly is to ensure that all people in South Africa are and feel safe in their homes, places of work and businesses whilst they carry on with their lives. The people in this context refer to all law-abiding South Africans.

For many years South Africa has been plagued by crime and violence. While government has over the years, continued to put measures aimed at curbing crime, a perception exists correctly or incorrectly that not enough was done.

It therefore became apparent that things cannot be done the same way. Things must be done faster and smarter. After all it is the heartless criminals, not law-abiding citizens, who declared war on society. This has therefore translated into a people’s war against crime. We all have a role to play in this war.

Move towards a Single Police Service Section 205. (2) of the Constitution says, “national legislation must establish the powers and function of the police service and must enable the police service to discharge its responsibilities effectively, taking into account the requirements of the provinces.”

Section 205 (3) says, “The objects of the police service are to prevent, combat and investigate crime, to maintain public order, to protect and secure the inhabitants of the Republic and their property and to uphold and enforce the law.”

We have tasked the Secretariat of Police to investigate the feasibility of implementing constitutional imperative of a single police service in the country. We are mentioning this to sensitise all about the commencement of the process. We are under no illusion that this is going to be a protracted process.

The transformation of the police must across the country, focus on the type of police service we want to see. It must ensure that our police service at all levels is reflective of the society it polices and the values we wish to promote within our society. The implementation of the White Paper for Safety and Security, adopted by Parliament after extensive consultations, needs to guide our approach to the overall transformation of the police.

Creation and search for a new kind of police officer

In order to fight crime and fight it effectively, we need to recruit the right calibre of police officers. Whilst fitness, ability to operate firearms are some of the essentials, it is in essence the discipline, upholding of the Constitution, defending the weak, enforcing the law and being generally-upright that should constitute the defining core values of the police.

We have therefore taken a decision to implement plans to increase the number of police men and women by 10 percent over the next three years. The appointment of new trainees over the medium term is planned to total 17 539 comprising of 6 144 in 2010/11, 6 648 in 2011/12 and 4 747 in 2010/13.

Cabinet has already resolved on this matter in the last financial year.

We want to place stringent conditions, with the emphasis on attracting the most talented South Africans. It is our endearing hope that we will also be able to improve our human resource capacity to make a difference.

During the 2009/10 financial year, the department increased its human resource capacity by employing 9 803 new police trainees; 407 forensic analysts, 46 paralegals and 3 200 support personnel. The overall establishment grew from 182 754 on 31 March 2009 to 190 283, reflecting an actual gain of 7 529 employees. The estimated increase in the establishment during the 2010/11 period is 5 027 which will bring the total employee strength to 195 310.

Chairperson,

To emphasise our good-police officer approach, we are graced in this house by two exemplary police officers from Port Elizabeth, Captain Cornelius Pettit and Detective Warrant Officer Neil Killian. Three weeks ago following a lengthy investigation, they arrested a suspected drug lord. In trying to secure his freedom, he attempted to bribe them with an amount of R1 million each. The officers flatly refused the bribe and instead added another charge.

We also want to recognise and applaud our four members who were recently released from Sudan following abduction while they were on duty. The four, Colonel Ntlogeleng Menda Aucone, Captain Michael Annett, Sergeant Michael Melanzi and Constable Mmasebelalo Macey Ramantsi are back in the country. These four unsung heroes have vowed to go back to Sudan and continue to raise the South African flag: continuing to serve with distinction the region and the continent.

I and General Cele as the current incumbent chairpersons of the Council of Ministers and Police Chiefs of the Southern Africa Regional Police Chiefs Cooperation Organisation (SARPCCO) respectively, shall strive to continue to promote and support our region in peace and stability efforts.

On 12 January this year, a disastrous earthquake struck Port-au-Prince, in Haiti, taking away thousands of lives and destroying infrastructure. As part of the many nations who responded to the relief efforts, we commend our police dog unit members for their swift response in aid of the people of Haiti. This demonstrates our continued support as South African Police Service (SAPS) and a country in relief efforts to those in need across the globe.

Good, upright leadership breeds good, upright cops

Any police organisation requires capable, innovative and upright leaders to guide its personnel. To this end, we have appointed new leadership to take charge of the SAPS. We have put in place a new National Police Commissioner, General Bheki Cele to provide general operational leadership, guidance and direction to the SAPS.

We have also reinforced our intelligence arm with an appointment at national level of Lieutenant-General Joseph Mdluli as Divisional Head of Crime Intelligence.

Re-igniting discipline, command and control within SAPS

As government we took a stance to fight crime and fight it tough and smart. To realise this objective, certain steps have been undertaken. Amongst these is the transformation of the police ranks to ensure clear lines of command and control while instilling a sense of discipline amongst the members.

It is important to emphasise that the change in police ranks is an operational matter and has no constitutional implications whatsoever. Section 199 (1) of the Constitution talks of a police service and so do our Polokwane and prior resolutions. Section 207 (1) of the Constitution speaks of the National Commissioner. And this will continue to be so.

There is, therefore, no desire from anybody amongst us to tamper with the policy underpinnings that inform our approach to policing. The issue of how we mobilise and galvanise the material and attitudinal resources of the police to help to enhance discipline, instil confidence and resolve, and uplift the morale within the ranks does not, and should not be interpreted to mean or suggest a policy reorientation.

Transformation should not be viewed in isolation of the other pillars of our strategy, that is, strengthening partnerships with communities to make life difficult for criminals, utilising intelligence as a nerve centre of policing, strengthening the legislative framework. This specifically refers to the Independent Complaints Directorate, the Civilian Secretariat for Police and the review of the entire criminal justice system.

We shall take no chances with the lives of police officers against criminals. We shall also not allow abuses by individual police officers to go unchallenged. To address this we have also strengthened the ICD by appointing Mr François Beukman in August 2009 as Executive Director.

Whether people judge us from the national elections, the festive season or even the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup, there is a clear trend that we are making an impact in the fight against crime. Government is in charge and gaining new ground each day.

Moving towards an integrated Criminal Justice Review

The review of the crime scene management Standard Operational Procedure (SOP) has been developed and was completed in January 2010. Processing before Parliament of the Criminal Procedure Amendment Bill (Forensics) is at an advanced stage.

The bill has been split by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Police and the first phase will focus on the fingerprint aspects. An implementation plan in this regard has been introduced to Parliament. The second part of the bill dealing with DNA is still before the committee.

The e-docket system is a key component of the CJS review system. Within the SAPS, the e-docket system has been introduced at 193 police stations around the country and the scanning of more than 260 000 dockets have been finalised to date. Within the CJS review there is now a process that has been developed to speed up the roll out of the e-docket system to all stations across the country.

Fight against corruption: To seek, to find and to succeed

The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations (DPCI), ‘The Hawks’ is currently made up of 2 633 members. We have already appointed deputy provincial commissioners in eight of the nine provinces and additional personnel are currently undergoing vetting processes.

The Hawks have already scored successes in a number of fields in their short existence. On 6 July 2009, 287 projects of the former Directorate of Special Operations (DSO) were transferred to the DPCI. The SAPS now has an effective process of dealing with Organised Crime Projects Investigations (OCPI).

To date, the following statistics of operations of the DPCI show the following:

No.

Tendency

Arrests

Convictions

No.: 1.

Tendency: Organised Crime

Arrests: 3850

Convictions: 573
2.

Tendency: Commercial Crime

Arrests: 8186

Convictions: 4960
3.

Tendency: Number of Top 50 wanted criminals

Arrests: 28

Convictions: In progress-

Other notable successes include:
* A drug laboratory with drugs to the value of R200 million recovered in an operation in Midrand, 30 August 2009
* A transactional drug bust to the value of R600 million recovered in Phoenix, 14 September 2009, included the arrest of four South Africans and two British citizens
* A drug lab to the value of R1 billion on 4 December 2009
* Other drug busts include the arrest of a school teacher in possession of ephedrine to the value of R35 million in Kempton Park on 4 February 2010
* A drug lab closed down with drugs to the value of R5,4 million was seized in Benoni on 31 March 2010.

There have also been numerous allegations of fraud cases involving municipalities. Operationally we remain confident that the Hawks will continue with their successes in fighting organised crime. The successes of the Hawks have proven skeptics wrong.

Crime intelligence – a nerve centre in combating crime

We have over the last year emphasised the pivotal role that crime intelligence needs to play in the fight against crime and the need to rejuvenate our crime intelligence to service all aspects of policing.

The success of this approach has been seen in the cooperation that has developed between detective services, the DPCI and our crime intelligence. In moving forward, our goal with regard to crime intelligence is to provide quality services. The improvement of skills at various levels and the retention of such skills is a priority for this environment.

A strategy is being developed which will include utilisation of visible policing personnel for the provision of intelligence. During patrols visible policing officials come into contact with many people or they themselves observe what is happening within certain environments. A mechanism therefore needs to be established whereby ‘patrol reports’ are provided to crime intelligence officials who in turn can collate information and can observe trends in this regard.

Investigate with impartiality; arrest with vigour; a new SAPS approach Chairperson, during last year’s budget vote we committed ourselves to increase the number of detectives on levels one to seven by 19 percent by the end of the financial year. We surpassed the target and our growth now stands at 22,4 percent. This demonstrates the seriousness with which we take the criminal justice system outcomes.

In this growth we have 20 022 detectives as we speak. When taking into account the 2 153 who are currently undergoing basic training (these are new recruits who were recruited specifically to beef up the detective capacity), the total becomes 22 175 detectives.

We also exceeded our target for cases being referred to court by more than 10% with 43,16 percent of all contact crimes, contact-related crimes, property-related crime, crimes dependent on police action for detection and other serious crimes being referred to court.

Building on these successes, we have set ourselves ambitious results for the next five years, targeting a detection rate of between 43 percent and 60 percent. In addition we are engaging the National Prosecuting Authority to develop a performance indicator to assist us in meeting targets related to court ready dockets.

Strengthening the fight on crime against women and children

Chairperson, during last year’s budget vote emphasis was placed on the need to review the establishment of specialised units with particular emphasis on violence against women and children. Following on from this, extensive work has been done on the feasibility of the re-establishment of the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences (FCS) units.

FCS structures will be aligned with the cluster policing model to serve the stations. Best practices have also been identified where FCS units and non-governmental organisations will be able to work together. Ultimately we seek to work with other government departments and civil society in creating a One-Stop Centre where all services required by victims of FCS-related crimes will be integrated in one centre. There is a clear positive impact of these models in the turn-around times, detection and court readiness of dockets pertaining to FCS crimes.

A deadline has been set that by 1 June 2010 all vacant funded posts will be filled and that the FCS units need to be fully operational by 1 April 2011. We are happy to announce the appointment of Lieutenant Colonel Bafana Peter Linda to head this unit. Having been based in the United Kingdom (UK), where he acquired extensive expertise in this field, we believe he will be a valuable asset.

Rural safety, a government priority

Chairperson,

Government has placed the issue of rural development high on the agenda and views the safety and security of rural communities in South Africa as a priority.

To address this we have developed a comprehensive rural safety plan some of whose key aspects are:

* To improve and enhance the service delivery at a local station level. We have recognised that rural police stations are often isolated and responsible for policing vast areas
* To increase and improve police visibility in rural areas and to increase the response times of police. We need to adopt and ensure a responsive integrated proactive and reactive policing approach to policing rural areas
* To improve and enhance relationships between the police, farming community, stakeholders and extended rural communities
* To improve safety awareness in rural areas and to educate rural communities on safety and security matters
* Infrastructural development within the rural environment is essential to ensure equal accessibility to services and service delivery.

To ensure full participation in this plan, we have engaged a number of stakeholders including both farmer and farm worker organisations. We now need to extend this engagement to include rural communities more generally including traditional leaders and communities not situated on farms. We have also called upon anyone who would want to enhance the government’s safety plan to do so.

2010 FIFA World Cup – Ke Nako

We are adequately prepared for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Our readiness ranges from personnel to state-of the art equipment, information communication technology (ICT) 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.

In touch with the people; in tune with the issues; together with the solutions.

Chairperson,

We have crisscrossed the country, interacting with community structures, especially the community policing forums and have been able to deal with various issues such as drug abuse, with emphasis on kingpins, the proliferation of firearms and other social crimes.

Most of these communities affirmed their support to our programmes and expressed their belief in government. They even raised issues falling outside policing, thus underlining our point of an integrated approach as government in the fight against crime.

Ensuring a jolly-good season for our society

Chairperson, in December 2009 we launched ‘operation duty calls’ festive season crime-fighting campaign. We embarked on various policing operations countrywide, interacting with our communities, business and various organised structures with an objective of intensifying our fight against crime. Some of these operations are still in full force as we speak.

The feedback we received from businesses, communities and the media was overwhelmingly positive. We experienced significant decline in various crimes including cash-in-transits, armed robberies, house robberies/break-ins and business robberies, particularly mall robberies.

Aggravated robbery and theft of motor vehicle decreased significantly during this festive period compared to figures for the corresponding previous period. The decreases in carjacking and theft of motor vehicle, particularly street/public robbery, can in all probability be attributed to higher police visibility. In most provinces we visited people expressed their appreciation about the presence of police at shopping malls, taxi ranks, roadblocks and the so-called crime hot spots.

The fundamental aspect towards the success of these operations is that they were not unsystematic occurrences influenced by sheer luck. These were achieved through partnerships, effective strategies, proper planning, focused and intelligence-led approaches.

Awulethe umshini wakho surrender your firearm.

Chairperson,

On 11 January 2010 we launched the Firearms Amnesty campaign which ended on 11 April 2010.

When we announced the Amnesty, certain sections within society were skeptical whether that illegal firearms will be surrendered, more so as we openly indicated that all legal and illegal firearms surrendered will be subjected to ballistic tests to determine whether or not they had been utilised to commit crimes.

Our figures of the number of firearms voluntarily surrendered clearly point to ill-information of such statements, as they indicate that 53 percent of these were voluntary surrendered.

The period further allowed people who missed the cut-off-date for licensing to license their firearms under the new Firearms Control Act. It has not been our stance to criminalise law-abiding citizens, but we noted that missing cut-off dates is often a human error. That is why as government we exercised some leniency to citizens.

Strengthening our legislation to meet the crime-fighting operations

During the budget vote last year, we indicated that we will strengthen the civilian oversight structures that will have the responsibility for monitoring and evaluation of police programmes, partnership development with respect to community police forums, community safety forums and business partnerships with the police.

To this end we have developed two separate pieces of legislation which address the Independent Complaints Directorate and the Civilian Secretariat for Police. Both these pieces of legislation will be introduced in Parliament soon.

In relation to the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSIRA), a Council was appointed, chaired by Mr Thula Bophela with effect from 1 January 2010. In the near future, we will also be tabling legislation around the PSIRA.

A consultation process with the relevant stakeholders has already begun and we intend to make sure that the private security industry conforms to the necessary standards and displays the accountability and openness that is required. We also seek to bring the regulation of the private security industry in line with international norms and best practices.

No smooth ride, but there is light at the end of the tunnel

Despite the successes that have been achieved there are a number of challenges that we face and which are being addressed by the department.

The Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) has decreased their backlog from 2008/09 to 2009/10 financial year by 14 percent and is planning to decrease the backlog by a further 20 percent for 2010/11.

We have however recognized that the current functioning of the FSL is far from ideal. To address this we are currently in a process of engaging international and local experts with a view to assist us in transforming the FSL into a world-class unit.

The loss of dockets has been identified by this Ministry as a key challenge that requires attention. In addition to the role of the e-docket system, we are also tightening our procedures around inspections; focus on lost and or stolen dockets with an intention of detecting possible corruption, and recommending actions where necessary.

Effectiveness and integration of border management crime is a scourge that does not respect borders, with syndicates that have made the entire globe the theatre of their operations. This is also particularly relevant to Southern Africa, given its background of apartheid destabilisation, popular resistance and ensuing social dislocation.

Cooperation with police services in the region and further afield will be intensified and border control will be continually tightened. This integration will see all in the JCPS being part of the soon to be launched border management agency, which will by and large become an inter-departmental agency responsible for all ports of entry and exit.

A year of action: Ensuring that all people in South Africa are and feel safe

On Friday last week, I signed with the President my performance agreement. The overall outcome of this measurement is that on behalf of the ministry, I must ensure that ‘All People in South Africa are and feel safe.’ Whilst this is not a task given to an individual, however, I would be expected within the collective to make a valuable contribution to realise this outcome.

Government together with the people of our land remains capable of tackling the challenges that South Africa faces today. Collectively we have a responsibility to bring about a better life for all.

As a government that cares, we understand that all the people of our land, irrespective of race, class, creed, gender, et al deserve to live in a secured and comfortable environment.

Together with communities, government will ensure that criminals are dealt with severely. This is in line with the Freedom Charter which gave birth to the Constitution of the Republic which proclaims, “There shall be peace, security and comfort.”

Those who say it cannot be done should not obstruct those who are doing it. Siyenza manje. Re dira jaanong. This is the year of action.

I thank you.



Issued by: Ministry of Police
6 May 2010