Remarks by the Deputy Minister of Police, Makhotso Maggie Sotyu, MP at the opening of the Zamdela Police Station, Zamdela Police Station, Sasolburg, Free State
11 Dec 2012
Free State MEC for Police, Roads and Transport, Mr Butana Komphela
National Commissioner of Police, General Riah Phiyega
SAPS Free State Provincial Commissioner, Lt Gen Khehla Sithole
Executive Mayor of Fezile Dabi District Municipality, Mr Mosholi
SAPS Free State Deputy Provincial Commissioners and Management present
Representatives from the Free State Provincial CPF Board
Representatives from Business, Civic structures and Youth formations present
Community of Zamdela and surrounding areas
Members of the Media
Ladies and Gentlemen
As government, and more specifically as the police leadership and management, we premise our approach in the fight against crime around a community-policing philosophy. This philosophy emphasises strengthening partnership between the police and the community, thus, places the interests of the community at the centre of the fight against crime.
As we traverse the country, interfacing with these communities, irrespective of their different socio-economic situations, the one common message to us as leaders is the need to build new police stations. We are here in Zamdela today, because like many communities around the country, we have heard your request.
As a democratically-elected government that listens to the concerns of society, we are here to officially hand-over the Zamdela Police Station to you.
As this current administration, one of our fundamental goals is to improve the safety of our communities by building police stations in areas which, for whatever reason, were neglected in the past. It is unacceptable for society to travel distances to report criminals. It is equally unacceptable that in cases where they do reach these police stations, they then discover that there resources are unacceptable and inhumane.
We are not just building police stations; we are building well-resourced police stations that can serve our communities. By so doing, this will then intensify our resolve to win this war on crime. It will further make a categorical statement that no longer would we allow this community to walk long distances to lodge a complaint or report any criminal activity.
At the beginning of this year, we dubbed 2012 the Year of the Detectives with a particular focus on improving our all-round service delivery programmes. We tasked the management of police to place the building of police stations on their agenda because that is precisely what society requires.
In fact, the very existence of the police station structure itself is a deterrent to crime. To this end, the police management is currently implementing their strategic and operational plan which will give impetus in achieving the goal of building of police stations.
We are fulfilling a mandate of the ANC-led government around service delivery. For generations to come, they will know that those who had been tasked with the duty of safeguarding society have delivered. The official handover of Zamdela Police Station to you as members of the community, marks an important development in our course towards a sustainable and safe environment.
We further want to emphasise the point that this police station is a property of the community of Zamdela. The building is not a property of the Minister of Police, the Deputy Minister or the National Commissioner of Police. What this means is that as a community, you must play an active role within the policing structures, supporting and motivating the station commander and the whole team.
Yesterday, we concluded government’s national campaign of the 16 Days of Activism campaign to fight violence against women and children. Through this campaign, particularly as the police, we reiterated and committed ourselves to work harder and smarter to stop all forms of abuse of women, children and the elderly. Although the awareness campaign ended, we still have our work cut out.
The 16 Days of Activism campaign allowed us accelerate our efforts to ensure safer communities in which women and children are free to live without fear. We must re-double our efforts to ensure that we improve access to criminal justice services to communities to ensure victims are treated with respect and that perpetrators are convicted.
Furthermore, government is committed to improving the socio-economic conditions of women, children and elderly to reduce their susceptibility to abuse.
We are hopeful that the opening of the Zamdela Police Station will contribute towards conviction of wrongdoers, at the same time give the local community hope and security, in their homes, their workplaces and in their recreational areas.
In this regard we have started to increase the number of detectives and focus on intensified and improved training aimed at reaching a guilty verdict. We believe that if we can considerably increase our conviction rate and improve the communities’ trust in the SAPS and the criminal justice system.
The handover of this police station coincides with the current festive season safety campaign which is in full swing, across the country. We have seen how successfully our police officers have managed to foil some of the planned robberies and cash heists. By and large, these operations were successful because of the partnership of community members. We applaud and continue to urge you to report criminality and to refrain from buying stolen goods.
We are aware that some of the crimes that affect you as communities include common assault, which is mainly caused by abuse of liquor. We have been informed that you are also affected by business robberies as a result of mushrooming of small tucks shops in the area, and that there is also a challenge with copper theft.
In the face or rapid economic and population growth, massive urbanisation – one of the factors that can lead to crime reduction is through police visibility. High police visibility has resulted in various crimes such as business and house robberies being significantly lowered. We shall also ensure that this police station is equipped with all the advanced technologies to help us fight crime, as part of our smart-policing approach.
Consistently as we interact with communities, we emphasise the point around partnerships. We are also particularly encouraged to see amongst us here, young people. The youth represent the future yet sadly; we have seen how many of our youth are in drug bondage, abuse alcohol and get involved in criminality.
We are informed that there is a drug here in Zamdela known as ‘khatu.’ The effects these drugs have on our society, especially the youth, are dreadful. Others turn to prostitution and live tragic and tainted lives, almost inevitably die young. In other provinces drugs such as nyaope, wooonga and tik are destroying the youth. We urge the police officers in this police station to work with the community, to identify these so-called drug lords who traffic in drugs.
We hold a view that for as long as we have the streets of Zamdela are infested with drug lords, police must not rest. Parents must not rest. Communities must not rest. Let us declare a war on drugs.
Let the opening of the Zamdela Police Station become an additional and useful arsenal in the fight against drug and substance abuse in this area. As government we appreciate the efforts that have been taken by members of this community to address various socio-economic challenges, including crime.
Today we want to declare a war against drugs together with you. We salute your efforts, your clarion denouncing drug usage and abuse in this community. Again we also need to advocate that society must not take the law into their hands. No matter your anger, we will not tolerate kangaroo courts. Your task is to report those who commit crime to the police and in turn police must apprehend these scoundrels.
We have noted some in society who attempt to discredit our service delivery programmes, even questioning why we are building state-of-the-art police stations. We are unapologetic. We have set ourselves to correct the mistakes of the past and hence shall ensure that we build facilities that benefit society.
To correct some of the misconceptions by some of these doomsayers as well as those who have been on a campaign to discredit the work of the police, when it comes to the safety of society, we shall not compromise. We are intent to build police stations. No monetary amount can be equated to the lives and safety of communities we serve.
We recognise that to win the war against crime it is essential that government join hands with communities in forming concrete partnerships, cemented by a common goal of a safe country.
Fighting Crime is a Collective Effort. Together, We Can Do More To Defeat Crime in Zamdela.
I thank you.
Cell: 082 045 4024
Issued by: South African Police Service
11 Dec 2012
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