Remarks by Minister of Police, EN Mthethwa, at the partnership: Chinese community working together with police on the fight against crime Emperor's Palace, Kempton Park
24 Nov 2009
Representative from the Chinese Embassy
Counsellor Lou Xiandi
Chairman of the Chinese Community and Police Cooperation Centre, Mr Li Xin Zhu
Member of Parliament, Dr SB Huang
National Police Commissioner, Mr B Cele
Provincial Commissioner: Gauteng, Mr Perumal Naidoo
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Business against Crime, Dr Graham Wright
Representatives from the Chinese Community
Representatives from the Police management
Members of the media
Ladies and gentlemen
We are grateful as the leadership of Police to be part of this important gathering with our friends from the Chinese Community, as we together, seek to strengthen and forge our relations. We appreciate and thank Dr. Huang for coordinating and ensuring the success of this meeting. We come here not as experts who "know-it-all" but as equal partners in the fight against crime.
We believe that together with you as an organised structure that has the best interest of our country, we have a trusted advisor and partner. We believe you are here because you care and share our vision: contributing and creating a safer South Africa where businesses can grow and become profitable, where our children can prosper and further their dreams and where our societies can work together.
We have come to hear from you what we, as government can do jointly and better to address the problems faced by the Chinese community in South Africa and vice versa. Therefore from the onset, we need to emphasize that this gathering is not about us telling you about how much we have done. Rather it is about us listening to you and hearing from you what you think we can do better to deal with the problems and challenges, in the fight against crime.
Ladies and gentlemen,
As we may all be aware, China-South Africa relations have enjoyed all-round, rapid and healthy development since diplomatic ties was established between the two countries in 1998. Each year, when we reflect on our growth path as a country, we realise that China has always been part of this journey. Whether it is the social ills facing our society, whether it is the financial crisis that plugged countries globally, we realise that we have a trusted partner. It is therefore not surprising that even as we look at dealing with the scourge of crime, you are right next to us.
We truly believe in the power of social dialogue in addressing the problems of crime. At this point it is imperative to mention that as government we remain unshaken in our commitment to securing a better life for all and, the fight against crime is an integral part of ensuring this better life.
As the former China Ambassador to South Africa Liu Guijin once remarked: "Our two countries are highly complementary in terms of economy and trade. We share identical or similar views on many major international issues. The deepening of mutual understanding between our two countries, bilateral cooperation in all fields is sure to bear more fruits. China-South Africa relations are bound to have a brighter future."
We have therefore adopted this open-engagement approach because we value the Chinese community's contribution in the betterment and creation of a safer South Africa. We also move from a premise that for us to succeed, it is imperative to broaden the engagement across all sectors, in accordance with Government's approach that: Together We Can Do More.
We also acknowledge that crime levels in the country remain high. This demands us to develop an effective response that will categorically communicate the message that crime does not pay. Part of the response in this regard is the strengthening of our intelligence capacity. This is an ongoing task which is informed by an appreciation that intelligence acts as a nerve centre of any policing system.
Accordingly, we are going to ensure that intelligence forms an integral part of all aspects of policing. In this regard, we are in the process of increasing both the police intelligence personnel as well as the associated operational expenditures.
China overtook the United States as South Africa's biggest export destination in the first half of 2009, reinforcing the country's push to build trade links with Africa. South African Trade and Industry department’s data as recently released indicated that China replaced Germany as its largest country trade partner.
The European Union remains, by far, South Africa's largest regional trading partner for both imports and exports.
Data for South Africa, Africa's biggest economy showed exports to China stood at 27.6 billion rand ($3.56 billion) for the year to June, against 35.8 billion rand for the whole of 2008. South African imports from China measured 35.24 billion rand for the six-month period against 31.45 billion rand for Germany and 23.3 billion rand for the United States.
Ladies and gentlemen,
We are highlighting some of these impressive statistics because we need to mention that such growth is made possible when trade between countries is not negatively influenced social challenges, such as crime. These statistics begin to tell us that we cannot allow crime to negatively influence such positive growth trends. As we have come to realise, one of the elements that leads to anxiety in society is the impact crime has on business.
To address business robberies more generally we are working towards consolidating our partnership with business. This partnership seeks to jointly improve our efforts through, enhanced police and business crime prevention measures and improving alignment between the business sector and government.
Another area that requires our attention is the increase in commercial crime. Commercial crime increased by 16%.
What is also concerning is that this increase is also accompanied by an increase in the amount of money. Clearly, this is an area that requires more focused attention by both business and government. In assessing the increase in aggravated robberies there are three areas which account for the increase in aggravated robberies. These areas are business robberies, house robberies and hijackings. Of the three areas mentioned, the highest increase was recorded in the area of business robberies. During this fiscal year the number of reported business cases increased by 41,5% compared to the previous year.
We are also concerned about the increase in house robberies which during the last financial year increased by 27,3%. It is one of the crimes that are the most intrusive and personalise the crime experience. We simply cannot tolerate a situation where people do not feel safe in their homes. House robberies affects communities from all walks of life and are not restricted to wealthy areas.
Again we recognise that the force needs to do more to address this form of crime. Equally we realise that we need greater engagement with affected communities. Communities must ensure that those that represent them on the Community Police Forums (CPFs) are an equal partner with the police in establishing the programme of action in addressing the needs and to monitor the implementation thereof. This engagement will assist us in refining our approach to dealing with house robberies. We therefore make an appeal to the Chinese community, to join such CPFs and work with other communities in the fight against crime.
Ladies and gentlemen,
In just over 198 days, our country will host the biggest football showpiece in the world, the FIFA 2010 World Cup. A concern which that continuously occupies the thoughts of some in our society as well the international visitors is whether the World Cup will be secure?
Our response as it was then is still the same today: South Africa is well advanced in the implementation of its plans for a safe and secure 2010 FIFA World Cup. We will host a safe and secure World Cup. We will not allow criminals to act as distractions and victimise both our society and international visitors.
Our plan, which has been shared with FIFA as well as the Organising Committee, is a multi-pronged one. The plan encompasses:
* A comprehensive security plan, which includes our approach to addressing terror threats, hooliganism and crime, to FIFA in June 2008.
* This plan has been endorsed by FIFA with the conclusion being that it builds a reassuring basis for securing the event.
* The SAPS is spending R640 million on the deployment of 41 000 officers specifically for the event. This includes 31 000 permanent members and 10 000 police reservists.
* The vast majority of the police deployed for the World Cup will be trained officers with experience in major events.
* In addition, countries competing in the event will send their own specially trained police officers to assist with languages and cultural differences and to support the Force.
* Each of the 32 qualifying teams is expected to send at least two police officers to support the security forces during the tournament. Interpol will be setting up an office in South Africa for the FIFA World Cup.
We are certain you may have read or heard about the continued debate around our proposed amendments to Section 49 of the Criminal Procedure Act. We would like to take this time to clarify what our proposals aim to achieve in the fight against crime. The President of the Republic and the leadership of Police are clear in terms of our comments around this section. The amendments are aimed at clarifying ambiguities.
We have through various media platforms and other stakeholder engagements, consistently clarified our position on the issue. That has not changed. We need to point out that many in our society, including the media, have sensationalised and misinterpreted this issue. There has been a general failure to recognise that the use of deadly force already applies in the current section.
The amendment is not intended to allow for trigger-happy police officers. It needs to be made clear that the amendments to section 49 speak to our ability to deal with violent criminals who place lives of both police officers and the public in danger.
Indeed, the clarifications will assist in ensuring that law enforcement officers are better able to understand their responsibilities. Once effected, the changes will leave police in a situation where they will be less open to uncertainty when applying force. We expect of our members, in their duties of combating and fighting crime, to do so within the boundaries of the law. This is not negotiable.
We urge you, as an organised structure to work with government in our efforts to apprehend these criminals. In strengthening our fight against crime we have identified the need to improve our information and intelligence gathering. We are also ensuring that this information is used by the police to respond to the challenges facing you as a community and business.
We are confident that as we move forward with this partnership which focuses on a government-directed-and-led strategy, we will be able to assist in making South Africa a safer place to do business.
Together we can do more to fight crime.
I thank you.
Issued by: South African Police Service
24 November 2009
Source: South African Police Service (http://www.saps.gov.za)
Issued by: South African Police Service
24 Nov 2009
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