Deputy Minister of Police Mme Sotyu,
MEC for Community Safety Ntate Shongwe,
Executive Mayor Mbombela Local Municipality Councillor Mathonsi,
Traditional Leaders present here,
Our partners BAC and Old Mutual,
Community Police Forum,
Deputy National Commissioners,
Acting Provincial Commissioner of the host province,
All Provincial and Divisional Commissioners present,
All members of SAPS present,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Happy National Police Day!
Last year, our country celebrated 20 years as a democracy. This year, the South African Police Service is celebrating 20 years of policing under a democratic government. This is quite a milestone for an institution responsible for maintaining public order and protecting the people of our country.
As I was reflecting on the importance of this occasion, it dawned on me that indeed in this democratic period, as the police, we have also transformed, to become an institution that not only protects, but also respects, the rights and the dignity of all South Africans.
We may not always get it right, but, I can say with absolute confidence, Deputy Minister, that we are on the right track. This is a journey of transformation. We have already requested the Human Rights Commission to look at our curriculum and some of the work that we are doing, to ensure that respect for human rights is a golden thread in our training and in practice.
I believe that they walked away pleased with what they saw and are keen to provide constructive input so that we can introduce some enhancements. Towards this end, we intend to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding, so that we can have a structured way of working.
Deputy Minister, you have served diligently in this portfolio of policing for some time now. I am certain that you will agree with me – one of the many areas into which we need to inject more doses of energy is that of continuing to build relationships with the people we serve.
Without them, we will achieve very little. We desperately need the support and trust of our young democratic nation, which is still wounded by historical experiences regarding the police.
Ladies and gentlemen, every year, we, as the men and women in blue, take time to celebrate our work as the custodians of law and order. National Police Day is significant in that every police official is afforded an opportunity to reflect on the importance of our role in society.
Today, however, we are not claiming this day and celebrating it alone. We realise that our work is carried out in our communities and the assistance we receive from members in these communities, has ensured many successful arrests.
Along with our Deputy Minister, we have also taken to the streets and visited communities around the country under the Community Outreach Programme to garner support and to enhance the relationship between the police and the communities.
We also went so far as to include members of the community in our recruitment process, where they are involved in vouching for people who have applied to become police officers.
Men and women in blue: discipline, good manners and honesty remain the cornerstone of policing and are important for professional service delivery. Pride in the work that we do and the drive to always help those who come to us for protection, are equally important.
Through the Front-Line Service Delivery Programme, the SAPS is determined to not only improve the quality of service we provide to the public, but our reputation too. Police stations, as places where people go for protection and to report crime, should serve that very purpose. We cannot allow our people to be ridiculed and sent away, without being assisted properly.
Our organisation needs people who have integrity and discipline, and people who are passionate about fighting crime. Misconduct and corruption detract from the required professional service that must be rendered to the nation.
Every officer must endeavour to serve the nation to the best of their ability. We can no longer allow people to join our organisation for the wrong reasons.
We have noted the sterling work done by many of our members and have rewarded those who walk the extra mile to serve the people of this nation. I also encourage you to nominate your colleagues for the excellence and monetary awards for their selfless acts and bravery.
In closing, let me say, as the SAPS our deepest desire is to be winners. When we go to court, we want to win. When we are facing hardened criminals carrying AK47’s, we want to win. When criminals offer us bribes, we want to win by demonstrating that we have a high level of integrity and professionalism.
We must say no when they ask us to make dockets disappear. For the next 20 years, we want nothing but to be winners!
SOURCE: SOUTH AFRICAN OFFICIAL NEWS