France, SA partner to fight against transnational crime

Monday, March 9, 2009

Pretoria - The South African Department of Safety and Security has signed an agreement with the French Embassy to strengthen the country's capacity in the fight against transnational organised crime and terrorism.

The Priority Solidarity Funds Agreement will further reinforce the South African Police Service's (SAPS) capacity to respond to terrorist threats and to address international criminal networks.

Speaking at the signing of the agreement in Pretoria on Monday, Minister of Safety and Security Nathi Mthethwa, said the agreement, also known as the Enhlangano Project will effectively strengthen South Africa's aptitude to fight transnational crimes.

"I'm pleased that our governments share a common determination to defeat crime, as well as to reinforce our capacity to respond to terrorist threats as we work to realise the goal of a better life for all," the minister said.

Minister Mthethwa vowed that this cooperation was informed by both countries' shared understanding that the world community cannot afford to function in isolation in what has essentially become a connected global village.

"The very nature of this global community makes it all the more easier for criminals to exploit lack of integration and cooperation in global initiatives," he explained.

He added that sharing of experiences, information, skills and knowledge was critical in the effort to defeat crime, adding that the French Support Programme has greatly enhanced their capacity in the field of Public Safety and Police Training.

The training of SAPS members in specialised fields, procurement of specialised technical equipment, as well as the sharing of expertise in the field of tracking have all strengthened the fight against crime.

French Ambassador to South Africa, Denis Pietton said the three-year cooperation agreement will encompass a substantial financial commitment of more than R15 million to the SAPS.

He added that this agreement will focus, among other things, on the reinforcement of South African boarders and at the enhancement of specialised detective and investigative departments as well as continued development of forensics.

"France is honored to share its expertise with the SAPS in order to which will, among other things, support its preparation for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, and thereafter.

"Through this cooperation France hopes to enhance its valued relationship with SAPS," Mr Pietton said.

This agreement forms part of French-South African police cooperation formalized in 1998, with a view to support public safety and train South African police officers.

The two countries undertook to co-operate in the prevention, detection, suppression and investigation of crime including corruption and organised crime, illicit trafficking of firearms, ammunition, explosive and poisonous substances as well as human trafficking.