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Key Note Remarks by the Deputy Minister of Police, Hon. Ms. Makhotso Maggie Sotyu (MP) at National Police Day and Celebration of 20 Years of Policing.
30 January 2015

Programme Director,
MEC for Safety, Security and Liaison, Mr. V Shongwe,
Executive Mayor of Mbombela Municipality, Clr. Mathonsi,
All Religious and Traditional Leadership present,
National Commissioner of Police, General Phiyega,
Acting Provincial Commissioner of Police, Maj Gen (Adv) Nogwanya,
All SAPS Top Management present,
Our Men and Women in Blue,
Representatives of CPFs, the Unions (POPCRU & SAPU), and other SAPS Stakeholders,
Community Members,
All Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

One of the greatest leaders of Africa, who was also the first President of our neighboring country, Botswana, Sir Seretse Kgama, once said: “A nation without a past is a lost nation, and a people without a past is a people without a soul”.

As we celebrate these last 20 years of a democratic-informed policing, we must always remember where we come from before 1994. And if we do that, then we are all as South Africans, contributing to building a collective memory and consciousness and building social cohesion for our diverse nation.

It was indeed of a historical significance in our journey to freedom and democracy to replace the apartheid South African Police (SAP) with the human rights-oriented South African Police Service (SAPS).

And, as from 2012, we have been using this historic day for meaningful activities. Communities are now encouraged and invited to work in partnership with the police to fight crime, through Community Outreach Programmes, such as Safer Schools Programme.

We seek to capture the soul of the nation, to be united with the police against heinous criminals. We seek to make “Police Day” a Government priority, for it offers an opportunity to bring South Africans together to learn about our shared history without shame and scorn.

But, as the SAPS Leadership, we are constantly worried about the so-called experts who continue to vilify and negatively generalize about our police officers’ conduct.

Just recently, a Report called “The Broken Blue Line” was released, and it depicted an impression that the majority of our police officers are criminals and corrupt. They allege that, “criminal gangs have infiltrated the police”.

Unfortunately such reports are not only grossly misleading the nation, they are also tantamount to treason, as they are bent for destructive criticism instead of a constructive one. Such reports perpetuate a distorted notion that this country has no systems of governance in place.

Our system of governance is based on human rights.

Yes, we agree that there are SOME bad apples within the South African Police Service, and we are decisively dealing with them, through measures that are in place.

For instance, with the relevant prescripts and applicable legislation, we have fired and criminally charged those police officers that used unnecessary brutal force against our citizens and other inhabitants of South Africa.

Our oversight framework in place, in the form of IPID, has without fear and favour, investigated police allegedly transgressing the laws of this country. Police officers, who have been found guilty of any crime, are duly arrested, charged and prosecuted. And, every police officer knows that consequences are severe, if s/he is implicated in any corrupt or criminal act.

And, certainly as the Ministry of Police, we have always created platforms where all progressive stakeholders will come under one roof with the Ministry and SAPS, to work together to find innovative solutions against crime in this country.

We thus find it extremely offensive for the Afri-Forum and the South African Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR) to unilaterally do a research and release their findings without having worked together with the SAPS, to ensure that the report is credible, scientifically.

So, as the Ministry of Police, we fully agree with the National Commissioner of Police, when she says that the report is not only flawed, it is also devoid of any sincerity to build our diverse nation into a one safer one. And, we will not be held into ransom by a fascist minority with narrow agendas.

We appeal to all our stakeholders to critic our police constructively and please do compliment them when they have done exceptionally well in their duties.

Our message today to you police officers is: ignore these sinisters, and just continue with your mandate to ensure that South Africa is safe and peaceful. Continue with your energies to ensure that the arrests you make turn into successful convictions.

We all know that you have various challenges as active troopers on the ground, fighting crime. That is why the Ministry of Police will prioritize the SAPS Employee Health and Wellness Programme. Here, we are not only talking about being physically and emotionally fit.

We are also talking about bread and butter issues here: promotion and other critical benefits such as descent housing and skills development. We will be discussing with the National Head of SAPS EHWP to find ways to appropriately mainstream the National Strategy of Health and Wellness into our own, holistically.

The Public Order Policing policy will also be monitored, so as to safeguard the integrity of both the Department and our police officers.

We know that, many protests are always accompanied by provocations, intimidations, public violence, and elements of criminality, as in the recent lootings in Soweto.

Yes, our Constitution guarantees that everyone has a right to peaceful and unarmed demonstration. But, you should never hesitate to act harshly against individuals who trample on other people’s own rights.

We plead with you members of the community to always come forward with information in helping the police track and apprehend these criminals and perpetrators of intimidations.

In conclusion Programme Director, I would like to emphasize the point that I began with, that people who know their history are empowered to embrace the present and proceed into the future with self-confidence. Let us then all march forward as we continue to grow within the ideals and vision of the forebears of our nation, to make our country safe and secure.

I thank you all.

Ms Nomsa Hani
Head of Office & Spokesperson
Office of the Deputy Minister of Police
Ministry of Police
Private Bag X463
Tel: +27 12 3934469 / 21 4677023
Fax: +27 12 3934469 / 21 4614174
Cell: +27 (0) 82 772 2053

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