Deputy President David Mabuza has reminded South Africans that it is the primary patriotic duty and responsibility of citizens and communities to work with government in dealing with the contextual causes of criminal behaviour.
Speaking at the annual SAPS Memorial Commemoration Day on Sunday, the Deputy President said a police-public partnership will go a long way in restoring stability and order as the country battles to reduce worryingly high levels of crime.
At the event, 26 police officers and reservists, who all died in the line of duty during the 2018/19 financial year, were celebrated.
“Partnerships between the police and the public should be widely supported and strengthened by all citizens and communities. We must all join the call by the Minister of Police ‘to work together in squeezing the space for criminals to zero’,” Mabuza said.
Active police-public partnerships, the Deputy President said, will prevent the wanton murder of police officers.
“We emphasise this because the maintenance of law and order is not only the function of the South African Police Service whose members are killed effecting arrests, responding to false complaints, at stop-and-search operations, in vehicle accidents, and by suspects resisting arrest,” he said.
Rather, Mabuza said, the police service needs and requires visible and tangible cooperation from communities.
“[Communities] in the first instance know where illegal substances are being sold; where stolen merchandise is being sold; where alleged rapists and murderers are being hidden.
“The police cannot discharge their function alone. Instead, they need the daily cooperation and continuous assistance from the community to deal decisively with crime. After all, it is not the police that are responsible for the commission of rapes, of armed robberies, or for sexual violations of our women and girl-children.”
It is the primary patriotic duty and responsibility of citizens and communities to work with government in dealing with the contextual causes of criminal behaviour, said Mabuza.
Celebrating the fallen officers, the Deputy President saluted them for dedicating their lives to serving and protecting South Africans, despite being fully aware of the risks.
“Their patriotism and love for their country, its citizens and communities is far bigger than any fear they may harbour,” he said.
He said while the 26 deceased officers’ lives are being mourned, it is important to indicate that their loss was not in vein, saying their bravery and courage needs to be honoured.
Police Minister Bheki Cele said it is important to pause and reflect on the selfless job police officers undertake every day.
“The brave men and women we honour today were of a calibre of people who served and protected all the people of this country, without fear or favour. The selfless patriotism these heroes and heroines displayed can never be overemphasised,” he said.
Concluding proceedings, National Police Commissioner General Khehla Sitole said police officers, despite the dangers presented by their job, continue to protect communities without seeking glory or praise.
“They continue to sacrifice their lives for the call of duty. As we commemorate today, these officers [the deceased] have gone to the extent of losing their lives on duty,” he said.
Sitole said it is at such moments that the SAPS looks to government for a sense belonging and care. He said Mabuza’s presence at today’s event demonstrated that the SAPS is part and parcel of the country’s direction. – SAnews.gov.za