Government working hard to ensure effective policing

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

President Cyril Ramaphosa says government is working to provide the South African Police Service (SAPS) with the resources it needs to carry out its duties and fight crime.

The President was addressing the nation through his weekly newsletter.

President Ramaphosa acknowledged the “growing frustrations and anger” at the levels of crime in the country, saying that government is working hard to resolve the serious challenges the SAPS is facing.

“Like all government departments, the South African Police Service is feeling the effects of the country’s fiscal crisis, several years of understaffing and State capture. Police members also work in a dangerous environment where they often have to face violence, injury or death.

“Crime in South Africa cannot be eradicated without a strong, capable and professional police force. The capacity of the SAPS was one of the issues flagged in the report of the Expert Panel into the July 2021 Unrest, which we are taking steps to address.” 

The President said following the restoration of stability in the SAPS leadership, the focus has now shifted to recruitment and training.

“Understaffing and lack of adequate training has had a particularly dire impact on community and public order policing.

“Government has allocated funding for the recruitment of 12 000 new police trainees, and the first cohort is undergoing basic training. The SAPS Public Order Policing Units will receive an additional 4 000 members this financial year and arrangements are being made for appropriate training for members.”

Collaborative efforts

The President emphasised that although government is doing its bit to ensure effective policing, communities, civil society and business needs to work with the police and support these efforts.

“Policing cannot be successful without the cooperation of communities. For this reason, we are focusing on expanding the network of Community Policing Forums to improve both policing and community relations. We commend the communities that are taking responsibility for keeping their areas safe through street patrols, crime awareness campaigns and other activities.

“An example [of] collaboration [is] between Transnet Freight Rail and the SAPS to combat infrastructure theft and line sabotage. These crimes seriously affect the economy, as companies cannot move their products to the ports for export. Another example of cooperation is between mine security, private security and the SAPS to fight precious metals theft.

“As a result of these joint efforts, we are seeing progress in areas like Mpumalanga and Limpopo that have been flashpoints of instability, as stolen metals were moved to illicit markets abroad,” the President said.

Successes

President Ramaphosa said although much work still needs to be done to ensure that crime is effectively dealt with, police have also scored victories.

“In the last financial year, for example, SAPS Crime Investigations secured 206 life sentences against 209 accused, of which 154 were for murder and rape. The SAPS Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Units secured 356 life sentences against 266 accused. Suspect tracing operations resulted in over 13 000 arrests.”

The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation – known as the Hawks – and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), President Ramaphosa said, are playing their part in the fight against criminality.

“[The] Hawks achieved all of their targets for the last financial year, resulting in arrests and convictions, asset seizures, restraint and confiscation orders and forfeiture orders to the value of millions of rands. The arrests and convictions secured by the Hawks included for illegal mining, damage to fuel pipelines, cash-in-transit heists and police murders. The Hawks have started work with the NPA Investigating Directorate on cases emanating from the State capture commission.

“Given the high levels of crime in our society, there is clearly much more that must be done. But these figures do show that many criminals are being arrested and successfully prosecuted. They are not being allowed to get away with murder,” President Ramaphosa said. – SAnews.gov.za

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