South African Government

Let's grow South Africa together

Police and defence

SA Police Service
Crime in SA
School Safety Programme
Forensic Science Services and Criminal Record Centre
Drug eradication
Vehicle crime
Firearms control
Liqour control
Illegal gambling
Second-hand goods services
Emergency Response Services
Revervist system
Partnership policing
Rural safety
Operational Response Services
Specialised interventions
Air Wing
Airport security
Detective Service
Crime detection
Bureau for Missing Persons
Crime Stop
Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences
Specialised Investigations
Forensic Science Laboratory
Crime Intelligence
Protection and Security Services
Presidential Protection Services
Visible policing
Independent Police Investigative Directorate
Peace support
Maritime safety and security
Department of Military Veterans
Armaments Corporation of SA
Intelligence services












Cover page of Police and Defence chapter in Official Guide to South Africa 2018-2019The Department of Police is responsible for law-enforcement services, policy determination, direction and overall execution of the department’s mandate in relation to relevant legislation.

The Minister of Police is responsible for determining national policing policy (Section 206 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa of 1996 and the overall execution of the department’s mandate, in relation to the key pieces of legislation:

The National Police Commissioner answers directly to the Minister of Police. Entities reporting to the Minister of Police are the:

  • Civilian Secretariat for Police
  • Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID)
  • South African Police Service (SAPS)
  • Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority

South African Police Service

The SAPS is South Africa’s principal law-enforcement body and its vision of the SAPS is to create a safe and secure environment for all people in South Africa. The mission of the SAPS is to: prevent and combat crime that may threaten the safety and security of any community; investigate any crimes threatening the safety and security of any community; ensure that offenders are brought to justice; and participate in efforts to address the causes of crime.

The National Commissioner is the Accounting Officer of the SAPS. Deputy National Commissioners (under whom the divisions and components of the SAPS fall) and provincial commissioners (under whom the cluster and station commanders fall) report to the National Commissioner.

The SAPS’s policing objectives, in accordance with the provisions of Section 205 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa of 1996, are to:

  • prevent, combat and investigate crime;
  • maintain public order;
  • protect and secure the inhabitants of South Africa and their property; and
  • uphold and enforce the law.

The vision of the SAPS is to create a safe and secure environment for all people in South Africa.

The mission of the SAPS is to:

  • prevent and combat anything that may threaten the safety and security of any community;
  • investigate any crimes that threaten the safety and security of any community;
  • ensure offenders are brought to justice; and
  • participate in efforts to address the root causes of crime.

The National Development Plan (NDP) envisages a South African society which is safe at home, at school and at work and enjoying a life which is free of fear.

This is also in line with Outcome 3 (All people in South Africa are and feel safe) of government’s 2014-2019 Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF).

The NDP sets five priorities for the achievement of the above vision:

  • Strengthen the criminal justice system;
  • Make the police service professional;
  • Demilitarise the police;
  • Build safety using an integrated approach; and
  • Build community participation in safety.

Chapter 12 of the National Development Plan outlines a vision to build safer communities through demilitarising and professionalising the police service, and adopting an integrated and holistic approach to safety and security in South Africa.

This vision is given expression by Priority 5 (social cohesion and safe communities) of government’s 2019‐2024 Medium‐ Term Strategic Framework (MTSF), with which the work of the Department of Police is aligned.

The department was expected to focus on strengthening safety in communities through community policing forums (CPFs); reducing violent crime, specifically those committed against women and children; employing the stabilisation and normalisation approaches to fighting crime; and improving capacity for specialised investigations.

Strengthening safety in communities

The Safe Cities Framework, which was expected to be finalised in 2020/21, provides an overarching strategy for adopting a collaborative approach to strengthening safety and security in South Africa. The department has recognised that functioning CPFs are central to the successful implementation of the framework. This is because these forums provide a critical interface between the police at the local level and the communities they serve.

Reducing violent crime, specifically against women and children

Government’s 2019‐2024 MTSF sets out objectives towards a 50% reduction in the number of violent crimes reported in South Africa in the next 10 years. These objectives relate to reducing violence against women and children, among other things.

Accordingly, targets set out in government’s 2019‐ 2024 MTSF reflect reductions of 6.7% per year over the next 10 years in reported contact crimes and crimes against women and children. Effectively combating these crimes requires adopting an integrated approach that involves all sectors of society, including key business industries, supported by an effective criminal justice system that delivers quality and professional services.

Employing the stabilisation and normalisation approaches to fighting crime

Crime manifests in various forms and is largely influenced by geography, which necessitates two distinct yet interrelated tactical policing approaches: the stabilisation approach, which is immediate in nature and focuses on the removal of immediate threats in identified high‐ crime areas and hotspots; and the normalisation approach, which is gradual in nature and addresses the root causes of crime within predetermined timeframes.

The stabilisation approach is supported by specific national crime prevention operations such as Operation Fiela Reclaim II, while the normalisation approach entails the implementation of ongoing policing and law-enforcement strategies. Over the medium term, the department will focus on adopting the stabilising and normalising approaches in the 30 police stations across South Africa with the highest crime rates, or those that are identified as hotspots. To facilitate their transition from stabilisation to normalisation over the medium term, the department will ensure that focused crime prevention interventions are implemented in these police stations.

Improving capacity for specialised investigations

The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI) was expected to appoint investigators over the medium term to deal with the increase in cases involving serious corruption and commercial crime over the past few years, and the constant threat to safety and security posed by crimes against the state.


The SAPS establishment stood at 187 358 at the end of March 2020 and did not achieve its target to maintain a minimum workforce of 98%. This was due to 786 employees who went on early retirement without penalties, as part of the offer from government to reduce the Public Service wage bill.

Crime in South Africa

Housebreaking or burglary has consistently been the most common crime experienced by households in South Africa. The number of households that experienced this crime in the five years preceding the survey has increased from 2,1 million in 2015/16 to 2,3 million in 2019/20.

With an estimated 1,2 million incidences of housebreaking in 2019/20, and affecting 891 000 households in South Africa, this represented 5,3% of all households in the country. In 2019/20, the SAPS identified 30 police stations in Gauteng, Western Cape, KwaZuluNatal, Mpumalanga and the Free State, referred to as the ‘high crime weight stations’, for focused attention over the short and medium-term.

Specific proactive and reactive interventions will be implemented at those police stations, and they would be reviewed annually to monitor the application of these interventions, which include the prevention and investigation of crime.

GBV and awareness

In the 2019/20 financial years, crimes against women decreased by 4,8% (8 668) reported crimes, from 179 683 to 171 015 and crimes against children decreased, by 6,4% (2 881) reported crimes, from 45 229 to 42 348 or 6,4%, compared to 2018/2019.

School Safety Programme

The implementation of the School Safety Programme is guided by the School Safety Protocol, which was entered into by the SAPS and the Department of Basic Education in 2011.

To realise the objectives of the protocol, the SAPS is to link schools to local police stations and to raise awareness amongst children and young learners regarding crime and violence, as well as its impact on individuals, families and education.

Schools are identified on the basis of crime prevalence or threats of crime and violence. Provinces identify schools to address activities relating to specific crimes and/or challenges, focusing on bullying, sexual offences, substance abuse, vandalism, burglary, dangerous weapons and gangsterism, amongst other threats.

Forensic Science Services and Criminal Record Centre

The Forensic Science Laboratory renders a support service to investigating officers by analysing physical evidence collected from various crime scenes.

The accuracy and reliability of information provided by the SAPS’s Forensic Service is crucial to the success of crime investigations and prosecution.

The function of the Criminal Record Centre is to identify and confirm any previous convictions of suspects in crimes being investigated by the SAPS.

The Criminal Record and Crime Scene Management arm expanded its frontline service delivery capacity to make it more accessible to local investigating officers and to improve response times in attending to crime scenes.

Drug eradication

The SAPS supports the framework set out by the National Drug Master Plan, and continues to give input and report on the National Drug Authority Annual Plan on Community Education.

This is to reduce substance abuse and raise awareness on how to deal with problems related to substance abuse, police actions to reduce the supply of liquor which is sold illegally and illicit drugs, and to ensure effective enforcement of drug and liquor legislation, to address serious, violent and contact crime, which is associated with substance abuse. In the fight to have a drug-free society, the South African Narcotics Enforcement Bureau Unit continues to dismantle clandestine drug laboratories and arrest suspects.

An integrated intelligence-led operating model is used to identify and prioritise organised criminal groups that are specialising in the illicit production of drugs. 

Vehicle crime

There were an estimated 88 000 incidences of theft of motor vehicles in 2019/20, affecting 0,5% of South African households.

About 79% of households that experienced theft of motor vehicles reported the crime to the police, which is a 7,6% decrease compared to the previous year.

Incidences peaked in January, April, September, and November. In terms of provinces, Gauteng (45 000) recorded the highest number of households that experienced car theft, followed by Western Cape (11 000) and Eastern Cape (8 000). Limpopo and Northern Cape (both at 1 000) had the least number of households that experienced car theft. An estimated 99 000 hijackings occurred in 2019/20, affecting 85 000 (or 0,2%) persons aged 16 years and older.

A total of 78% of the victims reported the crime to the police, which is a 7% decrease compared to the previous year.

Firearms control

The Central Firearms Register is mandated to administer firearm applications, in accordance with the prescripts of the Firearm Control Act of 2000.

Its primary objective is to prevent the proliferation of illegally possessed firearms, providing for the removal of those firearms from society, improving control over legally possessed firearms and promoting responsible firearm ownership in South Africa.

The circulation of lost, stolen and found firearms plays an essential role in the investigation of firearm-related crime, in the efficient control of firearms and ultimately, in the reduction of the proliferation of firearms. Firearms without serial numbers are issued with Firearm Identification Numbers and earmarked for destruction.

The SAPS issues firearm licences, competency certificates, permits and authorisations to individuals and businesses, in terms of the provisions and subject to compliance with the prerequisites of firearm control legislation, after comprehensive assessment of the content of applications and supporting documentation. The proliferation of illegal firearms remains a major contributor to crime levels in the country.

During the firearms amnesty from 1 December 2019 to end of May 2020, 44 033 firearms and 246 060 rounds of ammunition were surrendered. Over 19 thousand new applications of expired licences were received. On 30 July 2020, Parliament approved the new amnesty period from 1 August 2020 

Liqour control

The SAPS plays a pivotal role in enforcing compliance to National and Provincial Liquor Legislation.

The existing partnership between the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition, the National Liquor Authority and the SAPS, to address enforcement of compliance to the Liquor Act of 2003 was strengthened through the review and signing of a Memorandum of Agreement to appoint SAPS members as liquor inspectors, thereby assisting in the enhanced enforcement of compliance to the Act.

Illegal gambling

A Stakeholder Priority Committee to address illegal gambling was established, on 17 April 2018 to enhance collaboration between the national and provincial gambling authorities/ boards, the SAPS, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and other stakeholders concerned, to address challenges in the gambling environment.

The committee comprises various specialised units within the SAPS and key external stakeholders, such as the National Gambling Board (NGB), the NPA and the Financial Intelligence Centre to initiate, coordinate and make recommendations on all actions required by the NGB, SAPS, NPA and other stakeholders (Government and other entities involved), to enhance collaboration to effectively address the detection, investigation and the prosecution of illegal gambling cases.

Second-hand goods services

The number of registered second-hand goods dealers varies annually, due to the registration of new and the closure of existing registered dealers.

At the end of March 2019, a total of 20 490 registered second-hand goods dealers were recorded, compared to 18 017, in 2017/18. Most registered dealers are in Gauteng (3 756), Western Cape (4 988), KwaZulu-Natal (2 721) and North West (1 565). A 6,8% decrease was noted in non-ferrous metal-related crimes, compared to 2017/18, which could be attributed to joint initiatives implemented by all industry stakeholders involved in the NFMCCC.

An initiative was implemented in all provinces, in cooperation with Business Against Crime, South Africa and the Microdot Industry in South Africa, to enhance the skills and knowledge of members to identify potential stolen vehicles when conducting compliance inspections at registered second-hand vehicle dealers.

Emergency Response Services

The 30 Flying Squad units countrywide are being used as force multipliers in support of police stations and other units. The serve as back-up for all the police stations in its service area if the police station needs assistance during life threatening circumstances.

The Flying Squad has been mandated to ensure a rapid response to priority or serious and violent crimes in progress, which require immediate response, as well as police assistance during less serious crimes/complaints, if no other response vehicle is available.

Hostage negotiators have been involved in hostage and related crisis incidents, including national and international negotiations, such as hostage, barricade and kidnapping incidents, as well as dealing with suicidal or mentally disturbed persons.

The SAPS has six established Accident Combating units and seven Accident Response teams countrywide. Members of the various units and teams respond and investigate culpable homicide and high-profile road crashes, including state vehicle crashes, in support of police stations.

These units and teams also conduct reconstruction of road crash scenes and mechanically investigate vehicles involved in high profile crashes when the need arises.

The K9 units also perform duties at ports of entry/exit. The SAPS Veterinary Services, as the custodian of animal welfare in the SAPS, has a mandate to educate all K9 handlers and mounted riders on basic animal handling and health courses, to ensure understanding of the basic but essential welfare needs of animals they work with daily.

Police reaction time

The SAPS’s reaction time to complaints remains an important factor in the services that are rendered by police stations. The reaction time is defined as the time it takes to respond to a complaint.

Response times are based on the severity of the crime and are classified according to the Alpha, Bravo and Charlie System. Alpha complaints are crimes in progress, which require immediate police response or action.

Bravo complaints are crimes that have already taken place, with no immediate threat to the complainant or property, such as a report of a housebreaking that has already occurred. Charlie complaints are crimes of a less serious nature such as loitering and trespassing.

Revervist system

The reservist system provides for the active involvement of the community in policing to support a community-oriented policing approach.

The reservist system and the focus of the SAPS on quality reservists and not quantity, has limited the number of applications with fewer applicants meeting the requirements

Partnership policing

Partnership policing is implemented to ensure a collaborative relationship between the SAPS and external stakeholders, including community organisations, business, the private sector, non-governmental organisations and civil society.

It is intended to encourage local communities to actively work with the SAPS to develop common approaches and objectives to fight crime. 

Rural safety

The SAPS prioritises the safety of the rural and farming communities, and continues to implement the comprehensive Rural Safety Strategy, in accordance with Chapter 12 of the NDP, which emphasises the need for all communities to be safe.

The current Rural Safety Strategy was fully implemented at 880 rural and rural/urban mixed police stations, in line with the set criteria of the four pillars of the Rural Safety Strategy.

Operational Response Services

The responsibility to respond to and stabilise medium to high-risk incidents, to ensure that normal policing continues, falls under the broader tactical environment of the National Intervention units (NIU), the Special Task Force (STF) units, the POP units and Mobile Operations under the Operational Response Service Division.

Specialised interventions

The policing and stabilising of public disorder and the responsibility to respond to medium to high-risk incidents, as well as to ensure that normal policing continues, falls under the POP units and the broader tactical environment of the NIU, the STF units, Tactical Response teams and Mobile Operations.

National Operational Coordination is responsible for developing, implementing and monitoring an integrated all of government and police specific operations, to address SAPS and Justice, Crime Prevention and Security priorities and managing major events. The two Mobile Operations units are responsible for the safeguarding of valuable and/or dangerous government cargo.

SAPS Air Wing

The SAPS Air Wing provides air support for crime-related matters to police stations, other units and specialised forces. Call-outs include airborne assistance, in respect of armed robberies, house robberies, hijacking, vehicle theft, stock theft, game theft, serious and violent crime investigations, unrest-related incidents and crowd control, operational support to other units, as well as search and rescue incidents.

Airport security

In responding to follow-home robberies, and other related crimes against international and domestic travellers, as well as airport users, valuable cargo and corruption, in and around the Oliver Tambo International Airport (ORTIA), a National Key Point, an Integrated Multidisciplinary Tactical Security Plan was developed at the ORTIA.

A multidisciplinary investigation team was formed to work closely with other government departments and security companies to attend to the risks and threats involved when travellers arrive or depart from the airport.

Since the implementation of the plan, crime at ORTIA was reduced. The plan was rolled out to other identified ports, including the Cape Town and King Shaka International Airports, Durban and Cape Town Harbours, as well as Beit Bridge and Lebombo Ports of Entry, during 2018/19.

The Aviation Policing Learning Programme aims to equip SAPS all members in the civil-aviation environment with the necessary skills, knowledge and capability to secure, protect and safeguard passengers, crew, ground personnel, the general public and the airport infrastructure

Detective Service

The Detective Service Programme comprises the Crime Investigations, Specialised Investigations, Criminal Record Centre and Forensic Service Laboratory Subprogrammes, which are managed by the Detective Service and Forensic Services Divisions, as well as the DPCI.

The Detective Service Division is responsible for managing the activities of the Detective Service, in accordance with the mission and priorities of the SAPS and to actively implement and exercise effective control over these activities.

The purpose of the Division is to enable the investigative work of the SAPS, including providing support to investigators, in terms of forensic evidence and criminal records. The objective of the Division is the successful prosecution of offenders by investigating, gathering and analysing evidence.

Crime detection

The detection of crime is the process that the SAPS undertakes, which extends from the time that the SAPS becomes aware of a crime and where a case docket is subsequently opened for investigation, until the time that a suspect has been arrested and charged or the case docket has been closed off as unfounded or as withdrawn before court.

This process includes the use of recognised investigative aids and the services of other divisions within the SAPS. 

Bureau for Missing Persons

When a person goes missing, it is of the utmost importance for the SAPS to fulfil its mandate to serve and protect the citizens of South Africa.

There is no waiting period to report a missing person.

  • Report a missing person at your nearest police station immediately. Produce a recent photograph of the missing person, if possible.
  • Give a complete description of the missing person’s last whereabouts, clothes that they were wearing, as well as any information that can assist the investigating officer.
  • Complete and sign a SAPS 55(A) form. This form safeguards the SAPS from hoax reports and indemnifies the SAPS to distribute the photograph and information of the missing person.
  • Obtain the investigating officer’s contact details, and send any additional information that might become available.

If a missing person is found or returns voluntarily, inform the investigating officer immediately. A SAPS 92 form must be completed to inform the Bureau of Missing Persons that the missing person’s report can be removed from the circulation system.

Crime Stop

Crime Stop provides ongoing support in the investigation, solving and prevention of crime. On receipt of tip-offs, through a toll-free number (08600 10111), SMS or electronic media, it is transmitted to the relevant police station for the necessary attention.

Family Violence, Children Protection and Sexual Offence

The FCS Investigation Service includes FCS Investigations and Serial and Electronic FCS investigations. This component emanates from the FCS mandate to ensure the effective and efficient investigation of crime that emerges from identified serial FCS offenders and electronic crimes (child pornography).

The Forensic Social Work Services Section is responsible for rendering forensic social work support to these investigations.

It is a specialised investigation unit which was established to ensure effectiveness and efficiency in combating crimes against women and children, by means of both proactive and reactive strategies.

The forensic social worker acts as a neutral independent fact-finder, who tests multiple hypotheses, through techniques that are legally defensible in court.

Crimes against women and children

Violence against women and children takes many forms, including physical, sexual, economic and psychosocial, but all of these represent a violation of human dignity and human rights and have lasting consequences for women and children, as well as their communities.

The reduction of serious crime remains a crucial challenge for the SAPS. Unacceptably high levels of crime in South Africa, especially serious and violent crime, result in people of South Africa living in fear and feeling unsafe, particularly vulnerable groups such as women and children.

Therefore, addressing crimes against women and children continues to be a priority for the SAPS.

Specialised Investigations

The DPCI was established as an independent directorate within the SAPS, in terms of Section 17C of the SAPS Act of 1995, as amended by the SAPS Act of 2008. The DPCI mandate is to prevent, combat and investigate national priority offences, in particular serious organised crime, serious commercial crime, serious corruption and cybercrime.

Serious commercial crime

Serious commercial crime refers to serious fraud, forgery and uttering, theft (such as the theft of trust funds), commercial crime, that is of such extent or complexity that it requires the services of a chartered accountant or other specialists or experts, during investigation and contraventions of certain statutes relating to commercial crime, including statutes relating to, among others, companies, trusts and close corporations, long and short-term insurance, the counterfeiting of currency, the counterfeiting and illicit trade in counterfeit products and goods, intellectual property rights, banks and the banking industry, exchange control, estate agents, serious corruption and cyber-related crime. 

Serious organised crime

Serious Organised Crime units investigate declared priority crimes through Serious Organised Crime Project Investigations (OCPI).

These crimes, include narcotics, theft of non-ferrous metals, theft of copper cables, dealing in abalone, money laundering, fraud, gang-related murder, wildlife trafficking, illegal trade in tobacco products, corruption, forgery, car and truck hijacking, dealing in stolen property, cultivation of hydrophobic cannabis and illegal drug production, as regulated by the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act of 2004 and the Prevention of Organised Crime Act of 1998

Serious corruption

Serious corruption, includes the misuse of a public or private office or position or resources with a corrupt intent and may include an act of bribery, nepotism, extortion, fraud and theft. This includes but is not limited to, offences under the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act of 2004.

The DPCI Serious Corruption Investigation Unit has achieved major successes in arresting officials involved in procurement fraud and corruption-related cases.


Cybercrime investigation within the SAPS is evolving into a distinctive investigative discipline. The development of investigative disciplines within the SAPS, such as digital forensic investigation, online investigation, unauthorised access and intrusion investigation and open source social media investigation, are entrenched in investigative methodologies aligned to international benchmarking standards.

The Cybercrime Strategy and Implementation Framework are expected to provide an integrated framework for the SAPS to address cybercrime.

Forensic Science Laboratory

The SAPS remains committed towards the realisation of processing the different categories of exhibits/entries (routine case exhibits/entries, non-routine case exhibits/entries, priority case exhibits/entries and intelligence case exhibits/ entries).

The backlog of cases exhibits/entries not yet finalised, remains at very low levels and also below the international acceptable norm of 10% of cases on hand.

The legislation requires that authorised persons (trained detectives) may take DNA buccal samples from certain categories of persons.

The implementation of legislation such as the DNA and Fingerprint Acts, is proving to be a catalyst in linking unidentified perpetrators to criminal offences, where forensic physical material is left at the crime scene.

Investigative Psychology continues to play a critical role in the linking of suspects to serial cases and ensuring related arrests, sentencing and convictions. DNA evidence and, in particular, the National Forensic DNA Database is proving to be one of the most effective investigative methods of identifying and convicting serial rapists. 

Crime Intelligence

The Crime Intelligence Programme comprises the Intelligence Operations and the Intelligence and Information Management subprogrammes, managed by the Crime Intelligence Division.

This division is responsible for the gathering, collation, evaluation, analysis and coordination of intelligence. Legislative prescriptions require the SAPS to confine its intelligence activities to crime, criminal activities and securityrelated matters.

The core function of Crime Intelligence is to provide intelligence to operational divisions for the use in the prevention of crime or to conduct criminal investigations and to prepare evidence for the purpose of law enforcement and the prosecution of offenders.

Crime Intelligence is a key enabler in support of both proactive and reactive policing. The Division also provided intelligence-related services such as lifestyle audits, security screening and vetting to the SAPS.

Intelligence and Information Management

Proactive intelligence products include threat and risk assessment and early warning reports. The purpose of a threat and risk assessment is to provide intelligence/ information to operational units for the purpose of preventing the perpetration of certain criminal acts.

It is also used to determine the force and resources required for deployment to address identified crime threats/ risks effectively.

Crime Intelligence generates early warning reports  containing proactive information of an imminent threat, that is either being planned or is already emerging and requires policing intervention.

Reactive intelligence products include profiles and intelligence analysis reports, such as communication analysis reports and association/network analysis reports

Protection and Security Service (PSS)

The PSS Programme comprises the VIP Protection Services, the Static and Mobile Security and the Government Security Regulator subprogrammes, managed by the PSS Division and the Presidential Protection Service (PPS) component.

The PPS division is a national competency with nine provincial offices located throughout South Africa. The division provides in-transit and static protection to all identified VIPs, including the Speaker/Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Ministers/Deputy Ministers, premiers, members of the Executive Council, the Chief Justice, judge presidents and ad hoc VIPs, in terms of the Risk Information Management Support System Policy and National Key Points and identified strategic installations (national and provincial government departments).

The division also provides protection to identified foreign dignitaries, who are visiting South Africa. Static protection, include the provisioning of protection to the 10 parliaments (the National Assembly and nine provincial legislatures). 

Presidential Protection Services

The PPS component is a national competency with provincial offices, which are located in Gauteng, the Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape.

The component provides in-transit and static protection to the President, the Deputy President, former presidents, former deputy presidents, their spouses, identified VIPs, including foreign heads of state/government, former heads of state/government and their spouses and at identified government installations.

The in-transit protection function is performed in Gauteng, the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. In-transit and static protection are supported by K9, Bomb Disposal, Technical Support, Physical Security Compliance and High-Risk Operations personnel

Visible policing

The Visible Policing Programme comprises the Crime Prevention, Border Security and Specialised Interventions subprogrammes, which are managed by the Visible Policing and the Operational Response Services divisions.

The Visible Policing Division provides direction on the effective combating of crime, through the provisioning of a visible policing service. The purpose of the division is to discourage all crime, by providing a proactive and responsive policing service, striving towards the reduction of crime levels and to instil community confidence in the SAPS.

The division deals with the strategic, tactical and operational approach in policing, to address the incidence of crime with the aim to reduce and combat crime, improve the SAPS’s response time, enhance community mobilisation and partnerships, encourage victim-empowerment programmes, address the proliferation of firearms, address incidents of unlawful possession and the dealing in drugs, as well as the closure of markets for stolen goods. 

Independent Police Investigative Directorate

The function of IPID is to ensure independent oversight of the SAPS and the municipal police services (MPS), conduct independent and impartial investigations of identified criminal offences allegedly committed by members of the SAPS and MPS, and make appropriate recommendations.

The IPID Act of 2011 grants the IPID an extended mandate and changes the focus of the its work from a complaintsdriven organisation to one that prioritises the investigative function.

The Act further places stringent obligations on the SAPS and MPS to report matters that must be investigated by the directorate and ensure the implementation of the disciplinary recommendations of the directorate.

High-impact cases include, but are not limited to, corruption, systemic corruption, death while in police custody, death as a result of police action, rape by a police officer whether on or off duty, and rape while in police custody.

The directorate also investigates the occurrence of other criminal offences by the police such as assault, torture and discharge of an official firearm


The Department of Defence (DoD) derives its mandate from Section 200 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa of 1996; the Defence Act of 2002, as amended by the Defence Amendment Act of 2010; the 1996 White Paper on Defence; and the 2015 South African Defence Review.

The department is required to provide, manage, prepare and employ defence capabilities that are commensurate with the needs of South Africa.

The NDP calls for an integrated, holistic approach to safety and security that tackles the root causes of crime and ensures South Africa’s long‐term stability, as well as peace and stability in Africa.

This vision is supported by Priority 5 (social cohesion and safe communities) and Priority 7 (a better Africa and world) of government’s 2019‐2024 MTSF.

In its efforts to give expression to these key policies over the medium term, the DoD will focus on creating a sustainable defence force, enhancing border safeguarding and territorial integrity, participating in peace support operations in Africa, and participating in internal operations through collaboration with other departments.

Creating a sustainable defence force

The department aims to respond to the constrained fiscal environment by focusing on measures to create a defence force that is more efficient, sustainable and capable. These measures include using internal personnel for basic maintenance and repairs; introducing measures to enhance revenue, such as the leasing and selling of defence assets; and maximising reimbursements from the United Nations as part of South Africa’s peace support operations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Enhancing border safeguarding and territorial integrity

Securing South Africa’s borders remains a key priority for the South African National Defence Force (SANDF). Over the medium term, the department was expected to maintain its deployment of 15 landward subunits to patrol a targeted 4 471 kilometres of South Africa’s land borders. It was also expected to acquire military equipment and technology to ensure the integrity of the country’s borders and enhance the capacity of landward subunits.

Participating in peace support operations in Africa

Over the medium term, the department will continue to participate in peace support operations in the DRC under the auspices of the United Nations stabilisation mission. In this deployment, the SANDF participates in the Force Intervention Brigade and deploys an infantry battalion supported by a composite helicopter unit, a tactical intelligence unit and military observers.

Peace support

Peacekeeping missions are a critical element to respond to conflict, prevent conflict and deter potential aggressors.

The department also contributes to domestic safety and security by conducting internal operations such as border safeguarding and operations in support of other government departments.

Maritime safety and security

The South African Navy continues to prepare naval forces for operations in support of the maritime security strategy.

These operations involve ongoing maritime border patrols along the Mozambican channel to combat piracy.

A new hydrographic survey vessel will be used to conduct hydrographic research to produce nautical charts, and ensure safe navigation for military and civilian shipping.

The vessel also forms part of Operation Phakisa, an initiative to unlock the economic potential of South Africa’s oceans. 

Department of Military Veterans (DMV)

The DMV derives its mandate from the Military Veterans Act of 2011, which requires the department to provide national policy and standards on socio-economic support to military veterans and to their dependants, including benefits and entitlement to help realise a dignified, unified, empowered and self-sufficient community of military veterans.

The department continues to deliver key benefits such as housing, education, training and skills development, and access to healthcare to military veterans and their dependants.

Armaments Corporation of South Africa (Armscor)

The mission of Armscor is to meet the acquisition, maintenance and disposal needs of the DoD and other clients in terms of defence matériel, and related products and services.

The corporation maintains strategic capabilities and technologies, and promotes the local defence related industry, ensuring that the SANDF receives quality equipment to carry out its mandate.

To maintain competitiveness, the corporation aims to acquire capital assets such as armoured vehicles and helicopters in an economically viable manner.


Denel, a state-owned company, is the largest manufacturer of defence equipment in South Africa and operates in the military aerospace and landward defence environment.

It is an important defence contractor in its domestic market and a key supplier to the SANDF, both as original equipment manufacturer and for the overhaul, maintenance, repair, refurbishment and upgrade of equipment in the SANDF’s arsenal.

Intelligence services

The State Security Agency’s (SSA) mandate is to provide government with intelligence on domestic, foreign or potential threats to national stability, the constitutional order, and the safety and well-being of its people. This enables government to implement and improve policies to deal with potential threats and to better understand existing threats.

The SSA comprises:

  • the Domestic Branch (formerly the National Intelligence Agency)
  • the Foreign Branch (formerly the South African Secret Service)
  • the Intelligence Academy (formerly the South African National Academy of Intelligence)
  • National Communications, which includes the former National Communications Centre, Office for Interception Centres and Electronic Communications Security (Pty) Ltd.

The SSA focuses on matters of national interest, including terrorism, sabotage, subversion, espionage and organised crime.  It also conducts vetting for all government departments in line with its counter-intelligence mandate to ensure secure conditions to enable departments and key state entities to do their work. 

Source: Official Guide to South Africa

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