Keynote address by Mpumalanga MEC for Department of Safety, Security and Liaison MNS Manana during the MEC's Excellence Awards, Emalaheni, Mpumalanga
30 Sep 2010
Members of the Executive Council present
Executive Mayor for the Nkangala District Council
Chairperson and Members of the Portfolio Committee
Members of the Provincial Legislature
Members of the Provincial House of Traditional Leaders
Provincial Commissioner: Lieutenant General TN Ntobela
Provincial Head of the Hawks: General Mapyane
Head of the Department
Councilors responsible for public safety
Chairperson of the Community Policing Forum (CPF) Board and board members
Departmental officials and police officers
Invited guests and business sector
Ladies and gentlemen
Today we are convened here to celebrate and give honour to the work, dedication and selflessness demonstrated by our police officers from different police stations in the execution of their duties. We are gathered here to demonstrate that we have been able as a collective to give meaning to the Constitutional political responsibility that entitle each province to monitor the police conduct, to oversee the effectiveness and efficiency of the police service including receiving reports on the police service and to assess the effectiveness of visible policing, amongst others.
Programme Director, this event takes place few weeks after the release of the crime statistics for 2009/10. In releasing and presenting the crime statistics, Minister of Police Nathi Mthethwa emphasised the importance of both police morale and their visibility in communities as critical in fighting crime. He went on to indicate that fighting crime was not only the business of the police. The community policing forums, business and non- government organisations are an integral part to the fight against crime.
The work we do through the implementation of a variety of activities such as patrols, stop and search, detective services etc, contribute directly to our performance as a province in the fight against crime. There is a greater need to dedicate adequate resources to visible policing so as to deter criminal activities. It has been proven that the visibility of police officers on its own has got a direct bearing in the behavioural patterns of communities and criminals.
Programme Director, Ladies and Gentlemen, the Excellence Awards is an annual calendar event which gives us the unique opportunity every year to focus our attention on giving the necessary praise and acknowledge to the brave women and men in blue for always putting their lives on the line just to ensure that peace and stability prevails.
These men and women are in the forefront of the fight for the safety of our communities, for the protection of our homes, properties, businesses and for the security of our families more especially our children. Everyday, they put their personal well-being on the line for the rest of us. Just think what would happen if they did not exist, if they were unwilling to answer the calls for help, if they did not stand between criminals and their victims. Surely they deserve our recognition, respect and praise for the work they do.
Because of our comprehension of the impact crime has in the lives of our people, the fight against crime is prioritised by government. This is one of the challenges we must confront without any compromise. We have as the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster resolved to confront crime with courage, concentration and clarity.
Our resolve to confront crime was given more meaning by the recently held National General Council (NGC) of the Africa National Congress.
The NGC resolved to continue to mobilise all stakeholders and also dedicate adequate resources to our personnel to be able to eradicate this scourge. The interdependent and integrated manner in which we coordinate our activities should be able to result in a situation wherein opened cases are thoroughly investigated and prosecuted, issue appropriate sanction and ensure that rehabilitation is given to offenders.
This cannot be achieved unless we move with the necessary speed in transforming the Criminal Justice System. We need to continue to build police stations where they are needed, there is a need to continue to increase the number of police officers so as to increase visible policing. The Jurisdiction of Regional Courts Amendment Act which came into effect on 9 August 2010 ensures the increase of access to justice to members of the public. The Regional Courts are capable of dealing with cases such as family disputes including divorce and maintenance, disputes over movable and immovable property between R100 000 and R300 000, credit agreements and Road Accident Fund claims of the same amount.
Programme Director, ladies and gentlemen, we are gathered here to give the necessary accolades to those of us who deserve them. The MEC's Excellence Awards were conceived with the objective of acknowledging police stations for their role in enhancing community policing, victim empowerment, management of complaints, customer care and prevention of crime amongst others.
The evaluation process undertaken by departmental officials assist in giving us a view and the situation in our police stations. Sector policing is the crucial determinant of the work we are doing. This means that the desired goal is to maximise effective police visibility and enhance interaction and participation amongst local stakeholders. We aim to see how communities are mobilised and engaged in the fight against crime.
The monitoring and evaluation that is performed should be linked direct with the objectives of sector policing. Our police stations must be in touch with local issues, structures and the communities. They must be working together for them to be able to seize the control of the streets from criminals.
Their work and the manner in which they execute their activities and conduct should strive at making crime unfashionable and discourage all those who were looking up to the criminals as their idols.
The evaluation process indicates to us that there is still a challenge in terms of ensuring the existence of adequate structures to enable us to fight crime. There are still some police stations in our province that are without community policing forums. We all know that community policing forums form an integral part of the strategy to involve communities in an organised manner to take part in the fight against crime and ensuring peace and order. This challenge need to be attended to as soon as possible so that the existing gap is not taken advantage of by criminals.
It has also been found that approximately 30 police stations in the province did not have the Victim Friendly facilities. We all know that crime against women and children remains a challenge. We trust the leadership of SAPS will move with the desired speed and commitment to ensure that these facilities are established and resourced in all our police stations.
Without disclosing the results of the evaluation process, I would like to indicate that it would be more encouraging that whilst we have notice other police stations coming up strongly in their performance, we however would like also to see some form of consistency by previous winners. Ladies and Gentlemen it would be discouraging to have the previous winners not coming up this year because that would reflect bad to the objectives of evaluation process and the justification of having the MEC's Excellence Awards.
Government has made strides to ensure the safety of our communities and we are the first to acknowledge that much is still to be done to reclaim our streets from the criminal elements. We remain dedicated at ensuring that our hard fought freedom is not threatened by crime. We are hard at work to ensure law and order, peace and stability. Actions taken by police officers against criminals have sent the well desired message that we are getting tough on crime and we will get tougher. This is being done because the society says no on crime, every well thinking person says no and the government also says no.
We need to continue to mobilise our communities to seize the moment and lead the fight against crime and corruption. I recall the days when we were fighting against the apartheid regime; communities were so organised and resolute. We have to use the same conviction to fight crime. The disturbing phenomenon is the fact that young people are the most contributors of crime. If they are the future of this country, then all of us need to start to do something about the contribution of a young people to the moral fibre of our societies.
Government will continue to invest adequate resources in youth activities to keep bored youngsters off the streets. The department will be signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the Department of Education and Department of Culture, Sport and Recreation. The aim is to put programmes that would engage young people and at the same time expose their talents for further development. These programmes need also to encapsulate the issue of mentoring for guidance and counsel purposes.
We will also be attempting to crackdown on anti-social behaviour. This includes criminal activities taking place in our schools. Our schools must remain safe and conducive for teaching. The successful implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) will prevent the mushrooming of gangsters in our schools.
Parents remain responsible for their children and can never delegate this responsibility to the teachers. Programme Director, Ladies and gentlemen, I think there is a need to hold parents more especially of underage children responsible for the behaviour of their kids. There is a need for government to send a strong message to all and sundry that in as much as the Constitution of the Republic gives us rights; we equally remain responsible for those rights.
Whilst we put measures for the communities more especially young people to abide by the law, there is an increasing pressure to also ensure that our house is in order. The continued reports of police officers found to be on the wrong side of law is disturbing. These are the few rotten potatoes we need to uproot from the rank and file of the police service.
A greater level of trust and confidence has to be restored in the police. If that desired level of trust could be achieved, the police may well find that both the people in every street and village and in the media will become willing collaborators in the fight against crime. Government is well aware that the conditions under which the police carry out their vital role are not ideal, more especially the compensation they receive. We also need to ensure that they are better resourced with vehicles, equipment and even well improved police stations. We should do this in recognising that even when the police’s duty is a hard and heavy one, they continue to remain dedicated and resolute.
We are grateful of the commitment by the majority of the police officers and their preparedness to remain at service for the nation in order to ensure peace and stability, safe and security.
On behalf of our government, I would like to take this opportunity and extend our gratitude to all of you who have continuously remained true compatriots and partners in the fight against crime and criminality. The contribution of the Ermelo Business Association, ESKOM, Oosthuizen Transport, Goldview Mine, Ermelo Toyota and Kobus Du Plessis in the refurbishment of the Ermelo Police Station is not only encouraging but a clear sign that working together we can fight crime.
The contribution by the business sector at Elukwatini has enabled us to put boreholes for the community in that area to receive water services. The contribution by the owner of the Elangeni Lodge at Ehlanzeni Region has gone a long way in assisting our Tourism Safety Monitors to execute their duties and provide the much needed assistance to our tourists.
We are also aware of the contribution of the business sector in the Nkangala Region more especially the financial contribution from Eskom to build a new police station for the people of Phola/Ogies. We hope that the necessary speed will be applied to ensure that the prevailing bottlenecks are removed so that the process of construction can start and also appeal to Eskom to be patient with us and not to withdraw the donation because it is much needed.
We will continue to strengthen our partnership with different stakeholders because we believe that sharing a vision with them will make the fight against crime a success.
I thank you
Issued by: Mpumalanga Community Safety, Security and Liaison
30 Sep 2010
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