Remarks by the Deputy Minister of Police, Ms Maggie Sotyu at the fourth Annual Leadership for Women in Law Enforcement Conference, Gallagher Estate, Midrand
27 May 2011
My colleague, Minister of Correctional Services
Ladies and gentlemen
I would like to thank the organisers of this conference for inviting the Ministry of Police to make some contributing remarks on this occasion to celebrate the empowerment of women working in the law enforcement environment.
I understand that the fourth Annual Leadership for Women in Law Enforcement Conference has become a very important platform, where women from all over the world, especially from Africa, have for the past three years, been gathering to discuss key elements as they seek to ensure that issues of women in law enforcement are heard, recognised, and respected.
We need to acknowledge the great idea of the Intelligence Transfer Centre (ITC) identifying the need for women in uniform to have one conference.
Perhaps, I need not to convince you that this conference has happened within an enabling solid historical background of post-apartheid transformative leadership begun under the stewardship of the first democratically-elected President, Dr Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.
Barely a year in governance, the then new ANC-ruling government showed that it will never tolerate gender-based violence, women inequality and under-development, by quickly ratifying the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).
This government’s leadership was undoubtedly founded on creativity, compassion and common desire for a better life for all, especially for the vulnerable groups of our society, women, children, the physically challenged and the elderly. With that same transformational leadership shown during post-apartheid, the current government administration continues to develop, adopt and advocate laws that include the Domestic Violence Act, the Sexual Offences Act and the Children’s Act.
But, of course, leadership for a better life and better world for women and children will always face severe constraints despite our continuous efforts. Perhaps then, as delegates here, we need to acknowledge that the scope for a transformative leadership will always be challenged by complexities and unpredictability’s of values, norms, structures, and processes that always shape human interaction.
We might have one common goal for a total emancipation of women at all spheres of our lives, but perhaps, women leaders still need to make a transition from working in comfortable zones as in silos, to achieving greater integration of our work to empower women. You and I have a responsibility towards those women who are not here to also have this kind of an opportunity.
I have thus a great hope then that, the notion of awarding excellence later this morning, will show-case women leaders in law enforcement who are moving away from a working system characterised by silo-thinking, and to being able to work across set boundaries to achieve impactful outcomes for women’s equality, safety and development.
This integration of our work necessitates and obliges women leaders in enforcement to be truly committed in involving people and communities they serve in a collective and inclusive manner, as each person or community has different parts of understandings, experiences, information and knowledge.
For instance, when we mobilise, educate and inform our communities on women development; and addressing violence against women and children through awareness-raising campaigns, we must not do development dumps; as in jetting in and out of communities with hosts of workshops, in the quests to get quick results.
We must emphasise on a sustainable and impactful integrated work in addressing women’s empowerment, by working together with other women structures such as the Progressive Women’s Movement of South Africa (PWMSA) and other government departments such as the Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities.
The collaborative effort sustains a quality leadership for transformation, as opposed to a silo and quick-seeking solutions that seeks for more quantity input. Yes, structures and people represented here come with their focused respective mandate; some are experts in human resource management, others in skills development and training; and some even in legislation. We must strengthen institutions and practices of popular participation.
Our approach must in practice, be premised on people-centred and people-driven process of transformation. All of society must take part in this national effort and, effective systems of interaction with all social partners must be established.
Indeed when looking at the programme, and seeing speakers and their subjects presented here, it is evident that you have been provided with a fountain of information and a great deal of motivation. However, in all our respective designations as women in law enforcement, all of us are plagued with two common challenges: gender-based inequities and corruption.
Our Department of Police is not immune to these two challenges. But, as the leadership of police: myself, the Minister of Police and the National Commissioner, we are addressing these issues head on. For instance, we have developed a policy of 40:60 percent ratio to men to increase intake of women in the South African Police Service.
Increasing the number of female police officers remains a key to the success of our policing goals. It is a key to reducing police brutality and definitely key to better handling the crimes of domestic violence and rape. Increasing the number of women police officers is not just about quantity; it is about setting new high standards for police recruitment and about oversight the same police that we recruit.
We also need to take this opportunity to highlight the South African Police Services (SAPS) endeavours to move towards 50% women leadership. Plans are currently in place to increase representation of women in operational and specialised environments. This is a duty that must be carried by the management of this department. As the leadership we remain confident that it shall be achieved. We also emphasised that the re-skilling of women across the department must be prioritised.
That the image of police has been severely tarnished since apartheid times is an open secret. And, quite recently our police officers have been both victims of heinous ambush whilst on the line of duty; and at the same time, police have been perpetrators of brutal force and criminal activities.
To curb fraud within the SAPS, we have introduced the SAPS’ Anti-Corruption Strategy. Even, the Independents Complaints Directorate (ICD) is currently being strengthened through a new Bill known as the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID).
Through the IPID Act, the ICD will now be able to independently investigate crimes done by Police officers, such as rape, in the process, making sure that the most vulnerable in our communities are not abused by the very people who should protect them.
As the Ministry of Police, we are thus transforming the operational framework and mandate of the ICD from just being a mere “complaints” receiving body to a rebranded “investigative” organisation.
Therefore, ladies and gentlemen, as I join you here as the Deputy Minister of Police, I would like to say that the scope of every transformation we do as the department for law-enforcement, is a process that builds capacities to develop both our police officers and our communities we serve.
Our talks and deeds must address the central issues of fighting crime and nation-building. History has imposed on all of us the onerous responsibility to achieve the goal of a better life for all our people. We dare not fail.
As I have said earlier, all of us here have different mandates within the sector or interest of law enforcement, but with the same challenge. We must all be urged then to contemplate as to what it is to be a transformational leader. As leaders, we are required to acknowledge that we are working in an environment that is unpredictable, that is changing rapidly, and yet that is highly interconnected.
As we are also awarding excellence today, let us pay tribute to all the sponsors who made this conference possible. Indeed through its four year history and experience, through its obvious respect to other cultures, and through its commitment to women and community development, the organiser of this conference, the Intelligence Transfer Centre, is indeed seeing, experiencing, and implementing development of women in particular, as investing in community growth and prosperity.
This investment in women will no doubt play a critical part in helping our communities and societies to value the role that women can play in developing the entire nation. Through these kinds of conferences, quality leadership will prevail with strong convictions and sustainability for women’s quality leadership in law enforcement industry.
We congratulate all those who are receiving awards today. I am sure you have been recognised for your consistent demonstration of extraordinary leadership skills and qualities.
I am sure you are exhibiting qualities that promote exemplary work ethic, demonstrate initiative, encourage and mentors others, provides direction and support, promotes teamwork and values diversity. I am sure you have gained the admiration and respect of others through your exceptional professional demeanour. Congratulations.
As the leadership of police, we remain committed to the advancement and empowerment of women within SAPS. We approach these tasks with all the seriousness they demand. Our programmes aim to address the desperate needs and concerns of our citizens. Criminal acts however deny and take away the most elementary human rights from our people.
We seek to create a united, democratic and non-racial society. We have a vision of a South Africa in which all our people - black or white - shall live and work together as equals in conditions of peace, prosperity and crime free society.
The determination, the will and the ability of our people to fight crime until victory cannot be questioned. The justness of our cause is unchallengeable. The unity of our people on the question of crime should act as a source of great strength to us.
Today there can be no doubt about the determination of the overwhelming majority of the citizens of this country to take concerted action to help us squeeze and liquidate crime.
I thank you.
Issued by: South African Police Service
27 May 2011
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