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Speech by the Minister of Police, Mr. Nathi Mthethwa on the handing over of the upgraded Chatsworth police station to SAPS on 16 April 2014.
16 April 2014

Mayor James Nxumalo, 
Minister Nxesi, DPW;
MEC R Pillay;
MPL M Govender;
DG DPW M Dlabantu;
Lieutenant General N Mbekela;
Police Commissioner Lieutenant General M Ngobeni;
CPF provincial board chairperson;
MP and MPL’s and Councillors present

It is a great pleasure to be here today to formally accept the renewed Chatsworth Police Station on behalf of the South African Police Service.

There has been a police station in Chatsworth since 1965, but the recently completed upgrade was urgently needed to help SAPS best serve the quarter of a million people who live in Chatsworth. It is now a throughly modern police station, well equipped, well-staffed and with good facilities. It is a fine example of our government’s determination  to do everything possible to make South Africa a safe and peaceful place.

With the new and improved resources, SAPS Chatsworth can create a more efficient and professional work force, improve on front line service delivery and adequately equip personnel to the best of their ability and thus improve service delivery to the community.
In keeping with the ideals of our young democracy, where government constantly strives to make life better for its people, crimes against women and children will be prioritised.

The scourge of drug abuse is also to be a priority.  I am fully aware that parts of Chatsworth are centres of drug dealing and gangsterism that require special interventions to control. Chatsworth Police Station is at the centre of fighting this scourge and is to be saluted for its initiatives in increasing community awareness of the dangers of drugs working with the Local Drug Action Community and Community Care Centre and interacting with the Department of Social Welfare and Child Welfare.

The Chatsworth Police has a slogan for this fine work:  That slogan is It Starts With You And Me.  I think that sums it up perfectly.  While SAPS can and does arrest drug dealers and gangsters, the rest of us must do our bit.  I urge the people of Chatsworth not to sit idly by when they see drug dealing and gang activity, but to tell the police, so that together we can beat this evil.

I can assure you that SAPS does not expect the people of Chatsworth to go it alone, SAPS is focusing attention on the drug lords, the demons of the drug trade. It is necessary to arrest the small time dealers and petty gangsters, but we want the big fish as well.  SAPS, at a provincial level, is addressing this problem.  For obvious reasons, I do not want to go into too much detail because to do might jeopardise work that is underway but in case any drug dealer or gangster misses the point I want to draw their attention to the fact that the new police station has newly renovated its holding cells.

I am also aware that drugs are not the main concern to many Chatsworth residents, socio-economic factors in the area such as unemployment have given rise to crimes such as housebreaking, prostitution and drug related offences which are also catalysts for more serious crime such as house robbery, business robbery and crimes against women and children such as rape and domestic violence. The murders that occur at the informal settlements are mostly related to domestic disputes but are also as a result of vigilantism. 

The vast majority of Chatsworth’s residents are law abiding people who rightly expect the police to protect them and I want to send a message that my Ministry is working closely with SAPS to ensure they can live their lives in peaceful security.

Chatsworth is not an easy place to police, the 310 officers who work from the new station have more than 60 square kilometres to look after and a great mix of people to serve. There are South African police stations with more territory but very few with similar large urban areas under their protection.

This too is something that we are addressing, even as we celebrate this renovated police station, plans are already underway for the the building of a satellite police station in the Welbedacht West suburb of Chatsworth.  Negotiations are underway to identify a suitable bulding to use for this station.  We are also examining the use of mounted units for the area of Chatsworth bordered by a nature reserve which criminal elements have been using.

It is my nature to be truthful and I cannot pretend that all the problems that Chatsworth has, can be solved by better policing alone; I can assure you that government is doing its part by encouraging job creation, improving education and caring for the health and welfare of South Africa’s people. I can also truthfully say that those of us in government, work tirelessly on those issues so that one day the the economic underlying causes of crime will be a thing of the past and the police face a much less challenging job.

In the meantime, it bears repeating that police officers have a difficult job. Our democratic South Africa requires police officers to serve the community in a sensitive way, when they are affected by crime.  To this end the new Chatsworth Police Station has facilities for trauma counselling, a Victim Friendly Facility Centre and officers trained to handle the issues of domestic violence and drug abuse.

In doing their jobs the police are frequently exposed to aspects of life that I hope ordinary citizens never see, such as the viciousness of gang warfare and the heartbreak of drug victims. It is very easy to denounce the police when they get it wrong and I am the first to admit that SAPS needs to continually improve, but I am in a position to know about the countless times the police get it right and that I can tell you is far more often than they get it wrong.

Today is a good day, a day that, in a small way, exemplifies what this government stands for. Our entire purpose is to build a better society and I think that all of us can agree that improved policing facilities such as this station are a sign that progress is indeed being made.

Thank you

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