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Remarks by the National Commissioner at the commemoration of the SAPS Centenary
Athlone Stadium, Cape Town, Western Cape
22 November 2013

Minister of Police, Mr Mthethwa;
Deputy Minister of Police, Ms Sotyu;
All MEC's responsible for policing present;
Chairperson of the Portfolio committee, Ms Van Wyk;
Members of parliament present;
All Deputy National Commissioners;
All Provincial and Divisional Commissioners;
Heads of Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID), Civilian Secretariat for Police and Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSIRA);
Leaders from different Inter-Faith denominations present;
Leaders from Business and Civic Organizations present;
Representatives from labour unions, POPCRU and SAPU;
Representatives from various Community Policing Forums;
Community of Athlone and surrounding areas;
Distinguished Guests;
Members of the Media;

Thank you, Lieutenant General Lamoer for that rousing welcome. On behalf of SAPS management I would like to add our voices in welcoming all in attendance at this historical event.

There have been those who have questioned our decision to mark the centenary of policing in South Africa. We can never change history.

In fact we must carefully preserve history so that we can celebrate the fact that injustices of the past have been rectified. History serves to remind us that reconciliation and transformation is an on-going process, one that can never be said to be complete, one that needs re-energizing from time to time. In many parts of the world, including our own country, everyone now and again, racial, cultural or religious tensions flare up. So, we must realise that transformation, which must always adapt to the prevailing social climate, is a never-ending exercise.

This year, 2013, we acknowledge that there has been a formal law enforcement system in existence in our country for 100 years. Today, this system, the South African Police Service, is made up of almost 200 000 human beings who have taken an oath to serve and protect the people of South Africa. Together with the Minister and Deputy Minister of Police, my management team and I have undertaken to ensure that they do so with integrity and accountability. This is the legacy that we intend to leave as a foundation on which the next century of police leaders can build. Nothing will deter us from ensuring that our women and men in blue conduct themselves at all times in a manner which is beyond reproach. At the same time we must tackle crime and criminals with vigour yet within the confines of the very laws which we are Constitutionally bound to uphold.

Next year we join all other Government departments and the citizens of South Africa in rejoicing in 20 years of democracy. We also will be exercising our democratic right to vote in our country's fifth democratic elections. Let us all work towards making 2014 truly a year in which celebrations over shadow crime and violence. And we can only do this by working together and building a solid relationship between the community and the police, based on mutual trust and respect.

It is my privilege to introduce the driving force behind the on-going process to fully transform the SAPS by pushing us to work harder and render efficient and professional services to our clients. Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to introduce our keynote speaker, the Minister of Police, the Honourable Mr Nathi Mthethwa.

General Riah Phiyega
The National Commissioner of the South Africa Police Service