Law enforcement out in full force for SONA

Thursday, February 9, 2023

Police Minister General Bheki Cele has told law enforcement officials to make sure that they “enforce the law” without fear or favour, but within the confines of the Constitution, during and after the State of the Nation Address (SONA) this evening.

He was addressing a parade of law enforcement agencies – including the South African Police Service and the South African Defence Force – at Cape Castle ahead of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s address.

“[The] Commander-In-Chief of the South African forces is here to give the line to the nation tonight. Yours is to make sure that that happens with all necessity of respect and protection. That protection is for the inhabitants and the citizens of this land, including those that are visiting us today (sic).

“As you move around here, you are all over as the forces to look after the safety and the comfort of all people that are around this city, around this province, and around this country in this moment when the President gives us the guideline.

“You must make sure that anybody who chooses this day to get out of the way [and] break the law has chosen the wrong day,” he said.

Cele reminded the law enforcement officials that their duty to serve and protect those who live in South Africa continues “now, during and after the State of the Nation Address and many other days thereafter”.

“You must remember that their safety is not only when they enter these premises, when they enter this precinct. Wherever they are and wherever you are, you remain responsible for their safety.

“We will emphasise the point that women, children, the elderly and vulnerable [groups]... when they look at you, they must see the hope. Not only see the hope, but also receive the hope, receive the safety and they must feel that your presence is better [for] their safety,” he said.

Also at the parade, Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Thandi Modise, laid out expectations for law enforcement ahead of SONA.

“We expect that you will do what you have to do to protect the country. If criminality happens and you close your eyes, you affect the country. When you affect the future of this country you contribute to the disintegration of the life we want for South Africans.

“In anticipation of whatever may happen today, you will remember all the laws. Members of the SA National Defence Force, you will... remember what you are taught in your code when you are deployed with the police.

“We expect you will keep within the prescripts of the military code and we expect that you will excel in doing whatever it is you have to protect the integrity of this country,” Modise said. –