Chairperson, MECs present here, the Deputy Minister of Police, Ms Sotyu, chairperson of the Select Committee on Security and Constitutional Development, Mr Mofokeng, hon members of the NCOP, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, 2011, as declared by the President of the Republic, His Excellency Jacob Zuma, on the occasion of the state of the nation address, is a year for job creation.
Section 205(3) of the Constitution of the Republic enjoins the SA Police Service to combat, prevent and investigate crime, to maintain public order, protect and secure the inhabitants of the Republic and their property, and to uphold and enforce the law.
The police are the institutional expression of the resolve by South Africans, as individuals and as a nation, to realise safety and security. The police are and always must be subject to the will of the people they serve. The challenge confronting all of us is to transform South Africa, to make of her a place of hope, security and human fulfilment.
We are emphasising the aspect of the Constitution deliberately because all our actions must be guided by the highest law of the land. From effecting an arrest to securing convictions, we premise our actions in the letter and spirit of the Constitution. We therefore approach these tasks with all the seriousness they require.
Co-operation with the Police Service, in the region and further afield, will be intensified, whilst border control will continually be tightened. In introducing these measures, we proceed from the premise that crime is a scourge that does not respect borders, with syndicates that have made the entire globe the theatre of their evil operations.
The eradication of women and child abuse is central to the fight against crime. This requires deliberate programmes of education and other measures to transform gender and family relations; the retraining of justice administrators and police; and the provision of the necessary resources to ensure safety and to restore the dignity of the victims.
In brief, our programme in this financial year, 2011-2012, consists of achieving better policing, a better-trained and efficient criminal justice system and the involvement of all in our society to fight against crime.
We ensured safe and secure local government elections in 2011. As the leadership of police, enjoined by many in society, we want to take this opportunity to commend our police officers for ensuring that the local government elections were conducted in a safe environment. We deployed approximately 75 000 officers who were supported by the SA National Defence Force, SANDF, the intelligence community and various government departments.
Our members safeguarded all polling stations, the transportation of ballot boxes, the counting process and performed general crime prevention duties. In the end, almost all in society, including the Independent Electoral Commission, IEC, commended our officers for a job well done. [Applause.]
Whilst we focused our energies on the elections, we also ensured that normal policing continued unabated in all communities, whether one looked at police visibility or operations at various key crime hot spots. The success of securing everyone's safety in these elections can be attributed to proper planning on our side, and importantly, the kind of support we received from all law-abiding citizens in our country. We are therefore confident that as we move forward, this working-together approach will be sustained.
We have seen successes from the Hawks, which were achieved in the period from 1 April 2010 to 31 March 2011. In tackling commercial crime, the Hawks arrested 8 294 people and secured 5 267 convictions. When it comes to organised crime, they further arrested 2 439 and secured 532 convictions from 1 April 2010 to 31 March 2011.
During the period under review the directorate profiled and pursued 50 of the most wanted suspects for armed robberies, automated teller machine, ATM, bombings, and cash-in-transit heists and bank robberies. They apprehended 49 suspects and only one is still at large. The tracing team is in hot pursuit of the last suspect.
Other notable successes relate to the intensifying of the war on corruption. The directorate has established an anticorruption unit that deals with corruption within the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security, JCPS, cluster.
An anticorruption task team was established. It is a collaboration between different departments that have one common goal: to deal with the specific mandate in terms of Output 5 of the government's delivery agreement. It has to investigate, prosecute and convict 100 people by 2014, and retain illicit assets worth R5 million per individual. This is a specific programme for those individuals who have proceeds of up to R5 million, which they received in an unbecoming manner.
The directorate, in conjunction with the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, became involved in the probe of municipalities under the banner of Operation Clean Audit, and significant progress has been made.
A dedicated capacity was created in the provinces to investigate and combat corruption within local government. A total of 362 cases were received for investigation, as a result of which 144 public officials and 120 members of the public appeared in court. Out of the same number, the following convictions were achieved: 60 public officials and 29 members of the public. As you know, hon members, it takes two to tango and so it is the case here with corruption; there is a corruptor and a corruptee.
With regard to the Operation Duty Calls Festive Season, our police operations focused on contact and trio crimes, concentrating on aggravated robbery, including residential and business robberies, and car hijackings, in addition to the securing of shopping malls and combating ATM blasts. Border security was included in this focus, together with the social crime prevention operations, which dealt with the most vulnerable victims of crime.
There was a total of 321 013 arrests during the operation; 4 509 firearms were seized, including 1 697 magazines and 46 678 rounds of ammunition. Seizures included, inter alia, 3 638 vehicles, 11 648 kg of dagga and 17 682 mandrax tablets.
We have placed greater focus on addressing some of the challenges that faced this unit in the past, that is, the Forensic Science Laboratory unit. The overall backlog within the Forensic Science Laboratory declined significantly by 66% from 1 April 2010 to 31 March 2011.
We are happy to announce to the nation that at this point we do not have any backlogs in forensic DNA testing, and those matters that we have on record fit within the prescribed 35-days turnaround time. This success will go a long way in helping the police to reduce crime, but more importantly, to secure convictions.
In the main, whilst the issue of successful convictions lies with the courts, for our part as police, the kind of investigations we do, coupled with forensic analysis, will have an important impact.
The recent discovery of arms caches across the country were not random occurrences or pure coincidences. These successes were achieved through co- ordinated efforts. We plan properly. We execute those plans with precision and smartness. We are succeeding because we have the resolve and support of the communities.
These operations have all demonstrated that we have the capacity to make a significant impact on crime. We must now use that experience and the infrastructure as part of our general approach in the fight against crime. Now more than ever, we are working tirelessly to make life difficult for criminals in our midst.
In previous budget speeches we mentioned the need to strengthen civilian oversight of the police and the Independent Complaints Directorate, ICD. To address this, last year we introduced two separate pieces of legislation covering both the ICD and Civilian Secretariat for Police.
We are happy to say that both Bills have been passed by Parliament, and will now be enacted in the coming year. The fact that we have introduced these Bills before introducing other pieces of legislation, affirms that we are serious that this government and the Ministry do not desire - nor is there any likelihood - that this country will at any point move towards becoming a police state.
In changing the focus and the name of the ICD to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate, Ipid, we are sending a clear message that the new body will not focus only on processing complaints, but the emphasis is on developing strong investigative capacity.
We also seek to investigate substantial systemic defects in policing and general corruption. The Civilian Secretariat for Police Service Bill gives effect to the separation of powers and functions, and will ensure that we have a strong civilian oversight body that operates as a designated department, reporting directly to the Minister on all matters.
On the progress on a single Police Service, we also mentioned in our previous budget speech the need to address section 205 of the Constitution and the need for us to look at the imperatives and feasibility of establishing a single Police Service. Last year we tasked the Civilian Secretariat for Police with investigating the feasibility of this approach.
A draft document is now with my office and is under discussion. The results of these discussions will then be incorporated into the current processes to review the South African Police Service Act, Act 68 of 1995, and the White Paper on Safety and Security.
On the issue of the South African Police Service Act, Act 68 of 1995, this year we are going to ensure that that Bill is brought before Parliament, and this revision will be preceded by a review of the White Paper, as we have said. The White Paper was finalised in 1998, and since then there have been changes in the policing environment that need to be incorporated and reflected in our policy and approaches. The finalised review of the White Paper will then become the policy framework for the amendment and revision of the South African Police Service Act.
We will also be introducing a revised private security industry regulatory authority Bill in order to address weaknesses and gaps in our regulation of the private security industry.
Over the last 18 months we have seen a significant decline in the number of cash-in-transit robberies. As part of sustaining this decline, we have, together with other role-players, introduced preventative measures through information-sharing, particularly with the banking sector.
We have gone about strengthening relations between ourselves and the public. The partnership with the structures of the public, like the community police forums, CPFs, is going ahead because we are of the belief that it is through partnerships with these communities that we will win the war against crime. We have also introduced the rural safety strategy to ensure that people coming from these areas are indeed secure.
Skills development and the retention of skills remain a priority for this year, 2011-2012. Significant emphasis will be placed on detectives' training. And on this one we have made it a policy that when we recruit police officers, they all ought to have basic detective training, whether a person will finally end up in that unit or not.
We have also resuscitated the Family Violence Unit and other specialised units. We said last year that we would establish it, and we did that in March this year.
We also are involved in a process of rooting out corruption within the police ranks. Preventing, detecting and investigating corruption within the ranks will continue to be a major focus area for this financial year. Emphasis will be put on the implementation of the SAPS anticorruption strategy aimed at curbing corruption and punishing those members with evil intentions.
The implementation of the turnaround strategy around firearm control is continuing and we hope that with all the processes we have put in place we are going to succeed on this one.
This year, 2011, as said by the President of the Republic, is a year for job creation. The ANC-led government represents the hopes and aspirations of the majority of the people of our country. This government is the repository of the people's resolve to end violent crime, drug and substance abuse and women and child abuse - the embodiment of the people's devotion for equality and national reconciliation.
We must consolidate partnerships across society to strengthen social cohesion and ensure that our nation achieves the values of a caring society inspired by the traits of human solidarity which informed our struggle against colonialism and apartheid.
To us, the leadership of the police, we also want to emphasise that 2011 is the year of the good cop. Rise and shine in defence of your nation. This is our clarion call. I thank you. [Applause.]