Remarks by Minister of Police, EN Mthethwa, at the KwaZulu-Natal launch of the "Operation Duty Calls" Festive Season Crime-Fighting Campaign, Durban City Hall, KwaZulu-Natal
8 Dec 2009
Programme director, Mr Vincent Mdunge
Deputy Minister of Police, Mr Fikile Mbalula
National Police Commissioner, Mr Bheki Cele
His Worship Mayor of eThekwini, Cllr. Obed Mlaba
KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Commissioner, Ms Betty Ngobeni
All Deputy and Divisional Commissioners present
All South African Police Service (SAPS) senior officers present
KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Community Policing Forum (CPF) Board Chairperson, Mr Jerome Sibisi
Members of the media
Ladies and gentlemen
On the occasion of the release of the national crime statistics in September this year, we reiterated our commitment as the leadership of police to fighting crime. We spoke about a new approach, new thinking and harsher punishment to those heartless criminals. This approach is not just about words, but tangible actions. Today's occasion, here in Durban further confirms our promise of a government-led, action-orientated approach where we tackle criminals head-on, curb their plans and destroy their syndicates.
In other words, if they (criminals) pick pocket at the nearby beaches, we are ready to dive in. If they rob and hide in KwaMashu, Umlazi or in the city centre, we are at every corner. If they target shoppers at Margate Mall or our fans at the newly-built and magnificent Moses Mabhida stadium, we are waiting in and outside. If they intend to abuse our women and children, we will nib their actions in the bud with vigour. In essence, we have all their tricky ways covered.
Today's occasion is the third leg of our festive crime-fighting crusade, having launched the national "Operation Duty Calls" Festive Season Crime-Fighting campaign for 2009/10 in Cape Town last week. Yesterday we hosted another successful provincial launch in Alexandra, Gauteng. We have to hasten that these are not merely road-shows but as most of our communities have noticed, these are about police visibility and actions. These operations form part of our broader strategy on fighting crime because we intend to walk the talk.
To this end this morning, we began our operation by interacting with various sectors of civil society. We undertook a rail trip from KwaMashu Railway Station to Durban Railway Station because we wanted to get a first-hand view and feedback on the safety of our communities in trains. The journey provided us first-hand experiences, opportunities share with commuters our plans in ensuring their safety while at the same time appealing to them to collaborate closely with police in reducing crime. Equally, through our interactions we received valuable insights from commuters who further assured us of their unwavering commitment and support in reducing crime. We are aware that crime tends to be on the increase in this city, particularly during the festive season. It tends to affect local residents, visitors, young and old, black and white, men and women. The effect of this negative trend is that it has potential to affect the province's tourism growth. As police we will not allow crime to be a hindrance to this province nor any other province in South Africa.
What then can we do to resolve this? What this means is that, the citizens of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) in partnership with police, need to take a stance against criminals. We all need to re-commit ourselves in reducing crime across every corner of this province. We have a duty to take action against criminals who harass, steal and kill from our society. From the police's side we are clear: no retreat no surrender.
For many decades our townships such as KwaMashu have earned an unfortunate tag such as "murder capital of South Africa" or "no-go-areas" or "ngeke siye KwaMashu ngoba si saba amavholovholo." These were some of the negative attributes which, if not addressed could have adverse effects on the KZN economy and the country as a whole. The most common factor in such slogans is that they draw a linkage to crime. We cannot allow criminals to rename our townships. We cannot have them contribute to these negative phenomena but must strive to ensure our townships are transformed to "safest township in South Africa" and "townships with a zero ratio crime." This is not a pipe dream but a reality that can be attained if we all work together to defeat these scoundrels.
Nationally if we look at murder and attempted murder, both these forms of crime have been steadily declining over the last couple of years. We are pleased to say that they have continued to decline over the last fiscal year. During this period murder declined by 3.4% and attempted murder by 4.3%. Equally assault common and assault grievous bodily harm (GBH) have also declined over the last year. Assault common declined by 4.3% and assault GBH by 4.7%. As with murder, we are encouraged to see that this decline is consistent with previous years. As the police we are intent on ensuring that criminals have no success story to narrate. Theirs should be sad stories with sad and painful endings. Our neighbours, church organisations, business and civil society leaders need to leave in peaceful environments, free from these scoundrels. However, we can achieve this if we intensify our war against criminals as a close team - spurred by the same desire of creating safer communities.
Equally, we realise that we need greater engagement with affected communities. It is against this notion that in every festive launch we host, we ensure that CPFs form part of these programmes. Communities must ensure that those that represent them on the Community Police Forums are an equal partner with the police in establishing the program of action in addressing the needs and to monitor the implementation thereof. We are certain that our operations will become a nemesis to the criminals. They deal directly with the reduction in numbers of missing children at holiday destinations, cash-in-transits, armed robberies, house robberies and break-ins, business robberies, substance abuse and abuse of women and children.
We will further focus on visible policing at taxi ranks and metro rails stations and operations regarding illegal firearms, armed robberies, cash-in-transit and shopping centres. We will also increase high visibility patrols at all tourist destinations especially along the coastal cities. To address some of the trio crimes a visible policing in and around KZN, we will aggressively increase the number of police on patrol at key "hot spots." Operations will focus on aggravated robberies, including house robberies, business robberies, robbery of cash in transit as well as vehicle hijackings. We are also focusing on social crime-prevention operations dealing with contact crimes like assault, murder, rape and crimes against women and children.
Last week our country once again raised our flag with pride by hosting a free and safe 2010 FIFA World Cup Final Draw. As per the norm, there were some within our society and the international spheres who cast doubt about our ability in hosting a crime-incident free event. We assured South Africans and the international visitors that we are putting comprehensive security measures in place, not just for this event but the 2010 FIFA World Cup next year. Today we stand here: proud and gracious in the success of this iconic event. FIFA and the world have given South Africa a thumbs-up. While we also pat our men and women in blue, in partnership with all the stakeholders involved, we equally realise that the task ahead is still daunting. That is why we are here, to continue with the momentum of keeping our societies safe. This is a mandate we intend to carry beyond this soccer tournament.
What government intends to do is to ensure that as part of the legacy of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, it leaves a lasting security framework for South Africans and generations to come. We had said before and would like to reiterate our commitment here: our strategy on fighting crime is not intensified solely because of the World Cup. We will not compromise the safety of our citizens as we have ample resources to deal with crime, as this is our mandate to all the citizens. While most of the society has begun their holiday's breaks, our members have sacrificed spending time with their loves ones because they are prepared to serve with excellence. The leadership of police commends these members' dedication and are immensely proud of their contribution in the fight against crime.
We need to emphasise that our members of the force, as they carry out these mandates, they will do so within the boundaries of the law. That is why in the recent weeks we have been pleased to learn about some of the successes in apprehending dangerous criminals, through the enhancement and partnerships between police and communities. At KwaZulu-Natal in particular, police have made great strides in curbing some of the international drug syndicates. It is within this context that today we reiterate our call to all South Africans to partner with the police in the fight against crime. We hold a firm belief that our men and women in blue will never rest in their goals of ensuring our citizens' safety. We will hunt those heartless criminals with vigour and determination until we find them. This is our commitment.
Sithi kulezigebengu asinisabi, umani zimisele ukuhlukumeza umphakathi wethu, nizo sithola sinimele. Asinisabi!
Fighting Crime - It Begins With Me.
Ukulwisa Ubugebengu - Kuqala Kimina.
I thank you.
Issued by: South African Police Service
8 December 2009
Source: South African Police Service (http://www.saps.gov.za/)
Issued by: South African Police Service
8 Dec 2009
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