Address by Deputy President David Mabuza at the annual South African Police Service National Commemoration Day, Union Buildings, Pretoria
The Minister of Police, Mr Bheki Cele,
Deputy Minister of Police, Mr Cassel Mathale,
National Commissioner, General Khehla Sitole,
MECs for Community Safety from all our Provinces,
Management and Members of the South African Police Service,
Representatives of the South African Police Union; Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union and the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority,
Families of Our Deceased Police Officers,
Ladies and Gentlemen:
On this solemn day of remembrance, we gather to honour and pay tribute to our police officers who lost their lives in the line of duty. We honour them for their dedicated service to the nation to ensure that each one of us enjoys fundamental freedoms enshrined in our Constitution.
Our police officers are vital agents of peace, security and social stability to ensure that every woman and every girl child can walk freely in the streets without any fear being raped and murdered. Everyone must feel safe every time. They ensure that our homes and neighbourhoods are safe and secure for all of us.
For social progress and prosperity of this nation, our police officers are in the frontline to uphold law and order and defend every citizen from harm. They are the vital cog in our criminal justice system.
Today, we join our hearts and minds to honour those whose lives were lost while defending the noble ideals of peace, security and freedom. We pay tribute to them for paying the ultimate sacrifice.
The South African Police Service, is mandated by Section 205 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa to prevent, combat and investigate crime, uphold and enforce the law, maintain public order and protect and secure the inhabitants of our country.
Therefore, it remains of serious concern that police officers are killed by suspects resisting arrest while responding to complaints, effecting arrests, in stop-and-search operations, and in vehicle accidents.
Equally, it is highly disturbing that police officers lose their lives in stop-and-search operations and are sometimes murdered for their firearms. As we know, criminal elements thereafter use these stolen firearms to commit serious and violent crimes.
As we gather on these lawns of the seat of the executive arm of the state, we do so with a sense of pride and sadness, in memory of the men and women in blue. Their patriotism is not in question. They dedicated their lives to serving and protecting our nation.
The names we will hear being read out, and the pain that will be expressed by the surviving family members, were our friends and partners, our spouses, mothers and fathers, and sons and daughters. They had hopes of witnessing the blossoming of dreams of their children.
Without question, these were dedicated professionals who were willing to place themselves in the line of duty, in order to ensure that every citizen of our country and all those within our borders are safe from harm.
Their dedication made us feel secure in the knowledge that our government was taking care of the well-being and safety of all people, black and white.
As we gather here today, as we say our solemn prayers for all those who lost their lives; as we stand in solidarity with the surviving family members; we do so, knowing that our country is endowed with patriots who are willing to lay their lives in defence of our freedoms.
This South African Police Service Memorial, remains a sacred symbol to commemorate the members of our police service who sadly died in the line of duty.
We mark this day in our annual calendar, to remember the fallen heroes and heroines whose deeds serve as an example to all of us, about what it means to be selfless and patriotic in the service of humanity.
These departed members of our Police Service, have paid the ultimate price so that we can enjoy the safety, security and freedom that their protection provides.
They came from different backgrounds. They were raised under different environments and by different communities. Yet, what was common for all of them, was sacrifice and selfless service to ensure that justice is served for all victims of crime irrespective of societal standing.
Theirs was to ensure that our communities are kept safe from drug trafficking, from robberies, from housebreakings, from murder, from rape and all forms of human trafficking.
They were preoccupied on a daily basis with serving to protect the gains of our hard won freedom and human security.
As we remember and honour these thirty-nine (39) members of the South African Police Service and one (1) Police Reservist, we do so with mixed emotions.
Their sacrifice was not in vain. Their names are now engraved on the National Memorial Wall to signify the gratitude of our nation for their bravery and loyalty, to serve and protect the people of South Africa and all within our country’s borders.
Ladies and gentlemen,
We believe that there is no greater vocation that an individual can dedicate themselves to, than that of policing in an environment of high risk to one’s personal safety. Our dedicated police members are aware of these risks, yet they remain committed to the cause of serving and protecting others.
Their selfless patriotism is not in vain. The safety of police men and women, remain one of the top priorities of the Sixth Administration of this democratic government.
Community support and protection of police men and women can never be emphasised enough. As government, we will continue to extend our unwavering support to the South African Police Service, its members and their families.
We are informed of the good performance of the SAPS’ Education Trust, which was established in 2010 to look after the educational needs of the children of deceased South African Police Service employees.
The SAPS’ Education Trust, is a non-profit organisation and is funded by gifts, donations and sponsorships from private persons, firms, companies as well as employee and employer contributions. We take this opportunity to thank those who have contributed to this fund and to further urge the private sector to partner with government in resourcing further the SAPS Education Trust.
Ladies and gentlemen,
As Government we are not sitting on our laurels. We continue to build a police service that is effectively equipped, professionally managed and whose members are highly motivated to perform this important national service to the people of South Africa.
To this end, the Police Safety Strategy was reviewed last year, with the aim of implementing proactive preventative and reactive measures to ensure the safety of all South African Police Service employees.
This strategy is based on six pillars, namely:
Safety of police stations, buildings, and infrastructure,
Redress and support intervention, and
Monitoring and evaluation.
Furthermore, the South African Police Service is enhancing skills of its members through training in support of the Police Safety Strategy, with the aim of minimising attacks on police members.
Ours is to be partners with police in uprooting crime in our communities, and in ensuring that together with law enforcement agencies, we play our part of building a South Africa of our dreams. The deaths in the line of duty of these men and women, should serve to inspire us to do good and serve with integrity in everything we do.
Together, let us continue to fight crime and create better and safer environment for all our people. Together, let us work in unison to eliminate crime and corruption in our country. Crime erodes the image of our country, and it affects all that is worthy for our country to be considered a destination of choice for tourism and investment.
To the families of the fallen police men and women, be assured that our government and its people stands with you and will continue to support you in every manner possible. We thank the Minister of Police and his team for their continued support to families of our fallen heroes and heroines.
May the souls of these fallen sons and daughters of our land, remain embedded in our minds. May they continue to rest in eternal peace.
We thank you! Siyabonga! Reya Leboga! Baie Dankie!