South African Government

Let's grow South Africa together

Police and defence

SA Police Service
Legislative changes
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
Specialised policing
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 NDP details the need to build safer communities in South Africa through a holistic view of safety and security. Outcome 3 (all people in South Africa are and feel safe) of government’s 2014-2019 MTSF gives expression to this and is aligned with the crime prevention and investigation operations of the Department of Police.

In this regard, the department’s focus over the medium term will continue to be on: strengthening the implementation of recovery plans for visible policing, detective services and service terminations; enhancing operational capacity for Public Order Policing (POP); and combating gender-based violence (GBV), serial murder and serial rape through implementing the minister’s six point plan on GBV and implementing the new standardised policy on the investigation and management of serial murder and serial rape.

Addressing these priorities lays the groundwork for a police service that is responsive to the safety and security needs of society, and upholds a high standard of conduct and professionalism.

Legislative changes

Cabinet approved the White Paper on Safety and Security and the White Paper on Policing in 2018/19.

In November 2018, the Minister of Police approved the Use of Force Policy and Guidelines, which provide direction to the SAPS on the legal and professional standards required when exercising the use of force.

The policy articulates a human rights compliant approach, which must inform police management, strategy and operations.

In March 2019, the Minister of Police approved the Single Police Service Policy Framework, which outlines the parameters for integration, cooperation and collaboration of the SAPS, Metropolitan Police Service and traffic police, where relevant. The objective is to improve uniformity, efficiency and effectiveness within the law enforcement value-chain. 

The Critical Infrastructure Protection Bill of 2017 seeks to replace the National Key Points Act of 1980 and bring the legal framework for the protection of critical infrastructure in line with constitutional imperatives and changing developments, both nationally and internationally.

It is aimed at ensuring that South Africa maintains a robust and sustainable approach to the protection of the country’s critical infrastructure, in the interest of the State and all citizens.

It creates a transparent process of declaring critical infrastructure which involves several government departments, the private sector and community bodies.


At the end of March 2019, the establishment of the SAPS was 192 277, including 150 855 SAPS Act of 1995 (as amended) members and 41 422 Pubic Service Act members, compared to 193 297 personnel, at the end of March 2018. During this period, a total of 2 880 people with disabilities were employed by the SAPS.

The police/population ratio was 1:383.

During 2018/19, the average employee turnover rate was 3,0%, which represents a marginal increase of 2,7% compared to 2017/18. The loss of critical skills is monitored monthly to direct proactive interventions. Resignations contributed significantly towards the number of exits recorded in the 2018/19 financial year, followed by retirements. Resignations increased from 2 039 in 2017/18 to 2 180 in 2018/19.

Retirements increased from 1 412 in 2017/18 to 1 781 in 2018/19. The most prominent reasons for employees resigning from the service is due to more lucrative work prospects, including better compensation opportunities.

Furthermore, specific attention is being given to improving training in the areas of forensics, crime investigations, the POP environment, cybercrime and preventing crimes against women and children, to ensure that the SAPS contributes towards a South Africa where all people are and feel safe.

Rapid Rail Police Units covers about 33 000 km rail lines nationally.

Crime in South Africa

Serious crime include contact crime, contact-related crime, property-related crime and other serious crime (theft, shoplifting and fraud). The SAPS uses enhanced police visibility and targeted crime-prevention operations to deter and detect prevailing threats, within a particular policing precinct, either at police station, cluster or provincial levels.

All provinces contributed towards the increase in serious crime, including contact crime, contact-related crime and other serious crime. A decrease was, however, recorded in property-related crime. During the beginning of 2018/19, the country experienced a high rate of Cash-in-Transit (CIT) robberies.

All provinces were targeted, especially Gauteng, North West and Limpopo. Other provinces such as the Western Cape and Eastern Cape experienced gang violence. Taxi violence across the country and the torching of trains in the Western Cape, political killings in KwaZulu-Natal and sporadic incidences of violent service delivery protests countrywide, have impacted negatively on the execution of crime-prevention operations.

Most crimes against women and children are committed in private spaces and victims, and perpetrators usually know each other, which makes it difficult to police. Increased awareness to inform the community on the protection of women and children, including personal safety, through hints, pamphlets and community outreach programmes, could have resulted in more crimes being reported.

GBV and awareness

The SAPS acknowledges the rights of people with disabilities, as enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa of 1996 and the White Paper on the Rights of People with Disabilities of 2015.

In 2018, the SAPS compiled the first Disability Action Plan. The plan will enhance the SAPS’s efforts to address the challenges faced by people with disabilities and provides mechanisms to ensure that all SAPS employees understand and respect the rights of people with disabilities, as well as to ensure continuous service to the community, in accordance with the SAPS Act of 1995.

The SAPS intends to promote, protect and ensure full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedom by all persons with disabilities.

The SAPS has developed the Traditional Leadership in Policing Concept (to outline the role that traditional leadership can play in ensuring a crime-free environment, in support of economic and social stability), the GBV Strategy (to intensify and accelerate efforts to prevent acts of GBV, by creating multisectoral and long-term strategic interventions) and the Youth Crime Prevention Strategy (to enable, direct, guide and empower young people to play an active role in building a safe and secure South Africa).

The effective rendering of victim-friendly services to all victims of crime is continuously monitored, by ensuring that Victim-Friendly Rooms are available and that they are not utilised for other purposes, other than statement taking for victims of crime. All 1 149 police stations are rendering victimfriendly services to victims of crime.

Police actions and arrests

The facets of the reduction and combating of crime are executed through police actions.

These actions are conducted to enhance visibility in all police station areas and are coupled with operations to support provinces and police stations in stabilising and normalising crime.

Crime-prevention operations are aimed at creating conditions in which opportunities for the commission of crime will be reduced and include actions such as roadblocks, patrols, cordon-and-search operations, visits, compliance inspections and searches of premises, persons and vehicles.

The Operational Command Concept has was established to intensify crime combating initiatives, with the aim of giving effect to crime reduction and to enable an environment where the community feels safe.

The SAPS established multidisciplinary national forums with the objective of joining forces in the fight against crime and crime prevention initiatives.

Monthly/quarterly meetings were conducted with the National Rural Safety Forum, the National Community Police Consultative Forum, the Microdot Association of South Africa, Operation Rhino 9, the National Business Forum and the Non-Ferrous Metal Crime Combating Committee (NFMCCC).

Operation Fiela Reclaim II was also conducted, nationally, aimed at combating serious and violent crime, as well as Operation Safer Festive Season, aimed at ensuring that communities can enjoy a peaceful and safe festive season.

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 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.

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. 

Drug eradication

More drug confiscations were recorded in 2018/19, with the exception of heroin, compared to 2017/18.

The Constitutional Court judgement, with regard to sections 4(b) and 5(b) of the Drugs and Drug Trafficking Act of 1992, read with Part III of Schedule 2 of that Act and Section 22A(9) (a)(1) of the Medicines and Related Substances Control Act of 1965, created confusion because there was no uniform approach by members of the SAPS in dealing with cannabisrelated cases.

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

From 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2019, a total of 61 775 vehicles were reported stolen or robbed, including 42 879 or 69,41% reported as stolen and 18 896 or 30,59% reported as robbed.

In comparison with 2017/18, the number of vehicles stolen decreased with 2 257 and the number of vehicles robbed decreased with 193, representing an overall decrease of 3,23%.

A total of 28 418 vehicles were recovered, including 22 442 identified vehicles, 5 773 unidentified vehicles and 203 vehicles recovered during cross-border initiatives.

The number of vehicles recovered increased with 671 or 2,42% in 2018/19, compared with 2017/18.

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. 

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.

In 2018/19, a Terms of Reference and an action plan were approved to address illegal gambling. 

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 22 SAPS 10111 Command Centres received 23 233 385 calls in 2018/19, compared to 12 635 519 in 2017/18, an increase of 46,61% in the number of calls received, compared to 2017/18.

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.

During 2018/19, the national average reaction time was 17:05 minutes for Alpha complaints, 20:28 minutes for Bravo complaints and 18:48 minutes for Charlie complaints. 

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.

Three police stations, namely; Kubusiedrift Police Station in the Eastern Cape, Mokopong Police Station in North West and Boetsap Police Station in the Northern Cape are farm stations with no community residing in the policing area. As a result, these police stations were exempted from establishing a CPF. Instead, Rural Safety committees were established.

The Junior National Commissioner Project was introduced to recruit young people, especially learners, to be part of crime-fighting initiatives, while discouraging the youth from participating in various crime trends, such as drug abuse and gangsterism.

It is one of the SAPS’ Youth Crime Prevention flagship projects that seek to provide the youth of South Africa, with an opportunity to contribute and play a meaningful role in ensuring a safe and conducive learning environment in schools. The project also inculcates leadership, mentorship, moral and ethical values in the youth.

On 20 October 2018, the SAPS launched the first of its kind Community Policing Strategy and Community in Blue Policing Concept under the theme: “Towards an integrated and sustainable policing for a safe and secure South Africa”.

The objective of Community Policing Strategy is to enhance structured community involvement in crime prevention by making sure all people in South Africa are and feel safe, through multidisciplinary collaborations or interventions.

The Community in Blue Policing Concept aims to standardise the establishment and functioning of community in blue patrollers within the SAPS, which is inclusive of street committees, neighbourhood watches and community patrollers to encourage more citizens to participate in a structured way in crime prevention.

The SAPS implements Sector Policing as a communitycentred policing approach to enhance service delivery, police response and interaction, as well as the participation of the community in crime prevention. 

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 National Rural Safety Strategy was reviewed in 2018/19, to address rural safety as an integrated day-today policing approach by creating a safe and secure rural environment.

The approved strategy will be implemented through an integrated and multidisciplinary approach, including the mobilisation of the rural community in creating a safe and secure, crime-free environment, which is conducive to food security, the reduction of serious and violent crime, the prevention of stock theft, as well as social and economic stability.

Police stations are reclassified, at the end of every financial year, to ensure updated classifications. In 2018/19, a total of 885 of the 1 149 police stations were classified as rural or rural-urban mixed police stations. 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 allof-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

SAPS Air Wing The SAPS Air Wing provides air support for crime-related matters to police stations, other units and specialised forces. A total of 5 028.3 hours were flown during 2018/19 compared to 4 854.8 hours in 2017/18.

This includes 4 022.1 operational hours flown for crimerelated matters such as call-outs (914.7 hours), crime prevention (1 149.9 hours), planned operations (1 612.2 hours) and assistance to the specialised forces (345.3 hours).

Call-outs included 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.

A total of 1006.2 hours were flown for non-crime related flights, including communication flights (314.4 hours), shows (54.4 hours), training (409.3 hours) and maintenance flights (228.1 hours).

Specialised policing

The SAPS renders specialised policing services to neighbouring countries, in fulfilment of Outcome 11 of government’s Programme of Action: “Enhanced Africa Agenda and Sustainable Development”.

It includes the deployment of members on peacekeeping missions and other interventions, in accordance with the United Nations (UN) Security Council Resolutions, African Union (AU) Constitutive Act and Southern African Development Community Agreements, as agreed on by the the Cabinet of the Republic of South Africa.

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 Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations (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. The Division comprises Crime Investigation Service; FCS Investigation Service; Specific Crime Investigations; Organised and Commercial Crime Investigation, and AntiCorruption outside the mandate of the DPCI.

In addition to detective units at police stations, there are 245 detective service centres that provide a 24-hour service at police stations in various provinces. Police stations that have no 24-hour service have standby police officers to give attention to cases that are reported after hours.

The Cold Case Strategy was developed, approved and implemented in 2018/19 to expedite the investigations on stagnant cases and the tracing and charging of suspects.

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

During the 2018/19 financial year, a total of 6 465 circulations and 12 670 cancellations of information and photographs of missing and wanted persons, as well as unidentified bodies, were done, both internally to SAPS members, as well as nationally and internationally, via printed and electronic media and mediums, to the general public.

A total of 62 postings were done, representing missing children and/or adults, whose information and photographs were placed on the Internet.

These postings are executed through distribution by various email addresses and do not include printing and distribution of information by private businesses. The end-user prints the poster of the missing person and displays it at his/her shop/ place of business. 

Crime Stop

Crime Stop provided 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.

During 2018/19, Crime Stop and Crime Line handled a total of 96 805 inbound and outbound calls, which resulted in 68 arrests on 91 positive cases. The value of items confiscated was over R1,5 million. 

Family Violence, Children Protection and Sexual Offence

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

Over the medium term, the department will focus on  arresting the decline in critical defence capabilities, participating in peace support operations, safeguarding South Africa’s borders and territorial integrity, supporting the people of South Africa through collaboration with other departments, and refurbishing and maintaining infrastructure.

These activities support the realisation of Outcome 3 (all people in South Africa are and feel safe) and Outcome 11 (create a better South Africa, a better Africa and a better world) of government’s 2014-2019 MTSF.

The primary role of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) is to defend South Africa against external military aggression. In this regard deployment in an internal policing capacity is limited to exceptional circumstances and subject to parliamentary approval. The SANDF’s core mandate is the protection of the country, its territorial integrity and its people.

As a sovereign state, South Africa has a duty to safeguard its borders against the possibility of transnational crime, international crime syndicates and cartels, the illegal flow of undocumented migrants and illicit economic activities. The department was expected to deploy landward subunits to patrol South Africa’s land borders with Zimbabwe, Eswatini, Mozambique, Lesotho, Botswana and Namibia

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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