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Speech by Minister Deputy Police Minister Maggie Sotyu - SARPCCO.
26 October 2014

Deputy Police Minister Maggie Sotyu
Dr Chilika Simfukwe, head of the regional bureau in Harare
The Incoming chair of SARPCCO and National Commissioner of the SAPS, General Ria Phiyega
The outgoing chair SARPCCO chair The Inspector General of Police Namibia, Lieut. General SH Ndeitunga
All Police Chiefs present
Management of the SAPS
All police officials present here today

This dinner marks the end of three days of thoughtful and deep deliberation on the character of our regional co-operation that seeks to help us to fight crime collectively as a region and individually as countries. This is in our quest to keep our citizens safe from all crime. It is correct and proper that we continue to be seized with finding ways of creating peace in the region so that commerce and our economies can thrive.

Indeed, police work goes to the heart of development because no investor will consider any of our countries as a potential area of investment if there is lawlessness and disorder. Writing on the work of the African Union, Biswaro echoes the point I have just made saying that forming a continental body like this is important for two reasons; Economic and security. Granted, the entity that brings us here is smaller than the AU but the issues are mirrored.

He argues that in these days of globalisation two key issues are at the centre of integration. One is economic and another is security. In relation to the economic reasons, he says: “Countries integrate because they do not want to lose out the global competition for export markets and foreign direct investment (FDI). However, in regard to the latter (security) countries integrate because they “require collective regional approach when addressing issues of regional security, terrorism; drug, arms and human trafficking, and environment” Biswaro, 2012:26), sometimes mistakenly and collectively lumped under transnational crime or organized crime. In short then, this joined together supra-national authority on matters of security that is SARPPCO is borne of the need to be “systematic and comprehensive in coordination, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the regional programmes and projects” to ensure continuation of good spirit and cooperation on matters of crime affecting the region.

For the African National Congress, this is not a mistake or coincidence. This great organization has always emphasis on working together with all the peace-loving people to make the world a safer place. It was with this in mind that in 1955, our forebears saw it fit to make a commitment that once free, this country would:

  • “shall strive to maintain world peace and the settlement of all international disputes by negotiation - not war;

  • Peace and friendship amongst all our people shall be secured by upholding the equal rights, opportunities and status of all

  •   The right of all peoples of Africa to independence and self-government shall be recognised, and shall be the basis of close co-operation.
We have entered into this cooperation as equals and as free nations. We recognize that our fate cannot be separated. It is only when we work together that we will make a difference. Fighting transnational crime cannot be left to any one country because by its very nature, “organized crime knows no administrative borders”. It knows no bounds. It constantly feeds on all and sundry. The recent spate of robberies where specific technological gadgets have resurfaced as far afield as West Africa is proof of how crime crosses borders and has no regard for territorial integrity of nations. The cars stolen in Johannesburg make their way to Zambia and as far afield as Congo and other countries. Through this regional body, we will maintain efforts in promoting advanced cooperation among the police and all other parties involved in the fight against organized crime in the region. ) Carla Ciavarella, Regional Programme Coordinator at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, says that transnational organized crime is one of the major threats to human security, impeding social, economic, political and cultural development of societies worldwide. Our own General Godfrey Lebeya says that “organized crime is an activity based on structure and crime” or a criminal contract. “It is a contract in terms of which criminals agree to generate profit by repeatedly committing certain types of crimes. Strangers are not welcome and the terms are self-enforceable. With this in mind, to penetrate organized criminal groups, one has to, with an extra advantage if added secrecy and knowledge, think, act and operate likewise. Only when one has insight of the inside, will one then be able to cause the disablement,” he argues.

This means that we need to be able to think like criminals. We collectively need to understand this contract and do our best to ensure that we smash the syndicates or at least co-operate in an effort to tear them down. A link has been proven between illicit trafficking and other organized crime activities such as money laundering, corruption and the possibility of financing terrorism. We know that we live in an era of renewed terrorist activities – in Kenya, Somalia, Central African Republic. These areas may be just outside our region but the instability in these areas affects us all in different measures and contributed to irregular migrations. It is during these migrations that human trafficking thrives further complicating our lives. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) had estimated that worldwide proceeds from trafficking and smuggling were nearly $10 billion a year. These actions directly challenge the right of States to protect their borders and are a direct threat to State sovereignty. 

The Southern African Development community believes that “increased easy access to free cross border movement enables offenders to escape arrest, prosecution, conviction and punishment", and stressed the elimination of threats to the security of their people as a crucial step to speedy integration among the State Parties in all areas of activities. Yet at the same time, this easy access should also hold economic benefits.

Other threats include uneven economic development and high levels of social inequality, both among the countries and within the individual countries, which act as drivers of organised crime in the region. These are just some of the challenges that we face. These are some of the challenges that require us to rise to the occasion and co-ordinate our efforts to effectively deal with these threats. We need to shift our loyalties, expectations and activities toward a new center – a centre that takes into account our challenges. We need to fight crime in all its manifestations and take away its sting of reducing the citizens’ quality of life; its ability to place the limited resources of member states under extreme pressure; the potential to reduce local and foreign direct investment and threaten the ability of states to achieve their developmental goals – to borrow the CARICOM definition of crime.  (CARICOM, 2013). We have shown the commitment. Now let us make it real and change the lives of all our people for the better. Nothing less will suffice.

I thank you

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