Speech delivered by North West MEC for Public Safety, Mr Howard Yawa, MPL at the provincial Anti-Police Killings Commemoration Day, Madiba Banquet Halls, Potchefstroom
19 Sep 2010
Programme director, Reverend Esau
Servants of the Most High God from different denominations
His Worship the Executive Mayor of Tlokwe Local Municipality, Councillor Maphetlhe Maphetlhe
Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant General Mbombo
Provincial, cluster and station commanders
Members of Provincial, Cluster Community Policing Boards and CPF’s
Beloved families, friends and colleagues of our fallen heroes
Members of the media
Ladies and gentlemen
This special commemoration service is meant to salute and honour the lives of men and women of honour and courage killed in the line of duty from 1 April 2009 to 31 March 2010 who in times of challenge stood with the innocent against the guilty, with the peaceful against the violent, with the right against the wrong, with the righteous against injustice. When we take the measure of these servants of our people, we find heroes and heroines.
These law enforcement officers knew where they stood and claimed their ground with dignity and pride. They were members of a special breed, men and women passionately devoted to a profession that is more of a calling than a vocation.
They were courageous, put the safety of their communities before their own, and served with dedication, compassion, purpose and integrity.
We are continually distressed by police who lose their lives untimely. During the 2009/10 fiscal year we lost 110 police officers in the line of duty, whereas in the previous year we had lost 107. One police life lost is one too many.
Their dedication and contribution to the just cause of protecting the lives law abiding citizens, the innocent and the vulnerable in society will never fade into nothingness. These heroes were the shields of the nation and carried with them immense responsibilities on their shoulders keep our communities safe. They were loyal to the call of “no retreat, no surrender “to very bitter end.
Our hearts ache and go out for their loved ones, their parents, widows, children, other family members and friends. And of course their colleagues in the dignified uniform who have to perform their duties day after day through their sorrow.
I know it has already been repeated over and over again in their memorial services and funerals that these members were courageous heroes who were determined to perform their duties against all odds. Without hesitating or fearing for their own lives they were determined to storm any activity that threatened to result in an element of crime. They bravely fought to protect and serve the citizens of the North West. In the process, they risked their own lives.
It is therefore worth repeating here today that these members have demonstrated their courage to the bitter end. I have no doubt that all that was in their minds when they passed away was apprehending any criminal they came across with. They aimed to protect their communities no matter what. And they had a mission of making this province a better and safer province to live in. We will forever honour and respect their memories and be ever grateful for their unwavering commitment and the ultimate sacrifice they made in the name of justice.
Although nothing positive can ever come out of a tragedy of losing a serving member, something constructive must follow. Let each and every one of us in the South African Police Service today make a solemn oath that we will dedicate the rest of our careers in the police to ensuring that our fallen colleagues have not died in vain.
Let us take the fight out there to the rogue elements of society; let us fight the scourge of violent crime and evil with double the energy and renewed commitment. Let us make the streets, banks, petrol stations rural villages and shopping malls safe for women and children and all law-abiding community members; let us make a difference and dedicate every success we register to these fallen heroes for the sacrifice they have made.
Circumstances upon which our members lose their lives may vary, whether it is being shot by heartless criminals to accidents that unexpectedly occur while our members chase these scoundrels. Irrespective of the circumstance, we shall never accept such untimely losses, not because we cannot but because it is unacceptable. No monetary value can ever replace these members' lives. No amount of punishment to the scoundrels who murder our police can soften our hearts to accept these evil acts.
Whilst we could never bring them to life, we remain convinced that the best form of legacy we can implant, is towards investing in their children's education. The uprooting of crime and criminals in our society, pushing back the frontiers of poverty and ignorance, building of sustainable communities depends on every member of the SAPS. It is the task of all of us here who are still alive, to fully grasp the meaning, significance and purpose of our duty to serve society with diligence.
Today South Africa has become a stage for the international community to celebrate humanity and achievement of friendships. Without doubt, to a greater degree, it is through the immense contribution of the fallen heroes we are commemorating today. In their memory we must, together, continue to improve our capacity to deliver a crushing blow to crime and those who commit it. This is our conviction, our purpose and a debt we profoundly owe to these heroes.
In their memory we must, together, as members of the Force, serve our society with dedication, humility and care. Families of our heroes and heroines should never doubt our appreciation and admiration. You have an extended family in the South African Police Service and government in general and we will do all in our power to hold you close, to comfort you and to help you wherever we can.
We know there are no words to ease your sorrow or change the reality of what has been taken from you. Though these fallen heroes and heroinesare no longer with us, We are only honouredto convey on behalf of the provincial government that in our hearts, we will always remember and be grateful for your husbands, your wives, your mothers, your fathers, your daughters and sons.
We will make sure that their names and their memories live on in the hearts, minds, and souls of our people for generations to come. That is our duty and our commitment to you.
To the provincial commissioner and all the men and women under your command - we believe in you. You have shown that you are made of sterling stuff and your strength must be the ultimate remembrance towards your colleagues.
I want to remind everybody that our members are our greatest asset and we will always be behind them every time they carry out their duties. I therefore make an earnest plea for us to work together in a concerted effort to eradicate the scourge of crime from the homes, streets, neighbourhoods and communities.
The killing of Police members must stop! All of us must do everything to protect our men and women in uniform. Genoeg is genoeg!
And I wish to call upon our people once again not to turn themselves into a lucrative market for criminals by buying stolen goods. By joining hands and standing firm, we can successfully defeat the aims of those who are determined to profit from crime.
Programme Director we salute structures in our communities such as community police forums for their selfless contribution towards the war against crime. We have long ago realised that fighting crime is not only the business of the police. Though the ANC government inherited a crime ridden society, we are continually working harder to make our communities safer. Whilst we believe that it is not something we will be able to achieve overnight, but it can be done.
I therefore would like to take this opportunity to express our sincere appreciation to each and every member of the Police Service for their loyalty, dedication and sacrifices in serving our communities.
In the Book of Joshua 1 verse 9, the Lord in his message to Joshua after the death of Moses his servant said, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; Do not be discouraged, For the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go”!! Trust the Lord with all your heart because he will never leave you nor forsaken us.
Ke a leboga.
Issued by: North West Public Safety
19 Sep 2010
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