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Inauguration Speech by National Commissioner Jackie Selebi on 13 January 2000

Commissioner Chetty, Minister Tshwete, Commissioner Fivaz, honoured guests

I want to thank you President, the Minister for Safety and Security, and the people of South Africa for the confidence shown in me and for the opportunity to become an active participant and leader in the fight against crime in our beautiful country.

It is indeed an honour for me to have received the command of the South African Police Service of all people of South Africa, for all people in South Africa.

I have, in addition to practising how to wear an uniform, spent the last two months orientating myself and assessing the strategies, structures and functioning of the Police Service and the Department for Safety and Security.

I have gained valuable insight in this regard and I have, based on this insight, formulated a vision for leading the Police Service into the future.

What has become evident is that policing is not only about arresting suspects and recovering stolen property. The Police Service has a specific responsibility to:

  • Ensure a stable democracy which is conducive to sound governance;
  • Create an environment that is conducive to economic growth; and to
  • Ensure acceptable basic service delivery for all people in South Africa.

It is evident that my predecessor, George Fivaz, has laid a solid foundation for policing in South Africa and I have no intention of redesigning the wheel. It is necessary to rather build on those positive aspects that are firmly entrenched and to rejuvenate those areas where the results have not been what could be expected. It is, however, also necessary to give attention to specific issues that, because of the multitude of issues that had to be dealt with during the amalgamation, rationalization and transformation of the various police forces in South Africa, may have been neglected.

The Minister for Safety and Security has recently approved that the responsibilities for the National Crime Prevention Strategy be reallocated from the Secretariat for Safety and Security to the South African Police Service and the integration thereof into a broader strategy to deal with safety and security.

This has created the opportunity to review the current initiatives in order to consolidate and augment where necessary. Whilst this is receiving attention it is essential that the focused approach to our crime priorities is maintained albeit that adjustments to the approach are necessary.

I therefore intend, in striving towards the maintenance of a stable democracy, economic growth and the rendering of acceptable service delivery, to ensure that:

  • Policing in South Africa becomes intelligence-led and knowledge-led and is not driven by bureaucracy;
  • Law enforcement and social crime prevention initiatives are integrated and supportive of each other;
  • Delivery and maximum impact is achieved in the shortest possible time;
  • The Police Service focuses on priorities and that resources are focused and equitably distributed in terms of these priorities - that there is infusion of new people in key areas, such as crime intelligence;
  • Partnerships are established with all society - that relationships are built with communities and that communities become an extension of the police;
  • The Police Service is aligned, through restructuring, devolvement and delegation of powers to enable implementation of this approach;
  • Effective policing in problematic areas is made sustainable and that capacity is developed and remains in place so that we do not engage in fire fighting exercises; and
  • Police officials, specifically senior managers are held accountable for their performance and actions. This will be done by means of performance contracts with clear deliverables and performance indicators which will be closely monitored.

I further confirm that the focus on the current policing priorities will be maintained. These include -

  • Incidents of urban terrorism - specifically in the Western Cape. I am ensuring that this investigation receives the utmost priority and is driven by the South African Police Service - of course with the necessary support by my colleagues in the Scorpions;
  • Serious violent crimes - such as murder, armed robberies, heists and hi-jacking;
  • The proliferation of firearms - to negate the impact of the use of firearms in serious and violent crimes;
  • Corruption - so that we can fight crime with clean hands;
  • Organized crime (specifically in relation to vehicles, drugs and firearms);
  • Commercial crime - so that we can remove some of the key obstacles to economic growth;
  • Crimes against women and children;
  • The improvement of basic service delivery - in this regard it is essential that we render a satisfactory service to all people who enter our police stations, and that we treat them with the necessary respect;
  • The discipline and conduct of all members of the South African Police Service will be strongly addressed to ensure that we achieve our objectives;

In taking up my responsibilities and addressing these priorities I commit myself to the Code of Conduct of the South African Police Service which I now read -

I, Jacob Sello Selebi, commit myself to the creation of a safe and secure environment for all the people of South Africa by:

  • Participating in endeavours to address the root causes of crime in the community;
  • Preventing action that may threaten the safety and security of any community; and
  • Investigating criminal conduct which has endangered the safety and security of the community and bringing the perpetrators thereof to justice.

In realization of the aforesaid commitment, I shall at all times:

  • Uphold the Constitution and the law;
  • Be guided by the needs of the community;
  • Give full recognition to the needs of the South African Police Service as employer; and
  • Cooperate with the community, government at every level and all other related role players.

In order to achieve a safe and secure environment for all the people of South Africa I undertake to:

  • With integrity, render a responsible and effective service
  • Of high quality which is accessible to every person, and
  • Continuously strive to improve this service;
  • Utilize all the available resources responsibly, efficiently
  • And cost effectively to maximize their use;
  • Develop my own skills and participate in the development of my fellow members to ensure equal opportunities for all;
  • Contribute to the reconstruction and development of, and reconciliation in our country;
  • Uphold and protect the fundamental rights of every person;
  • Act impartially, courteously, honestly, respectfully,
  • Transparently and in accountable manner;
  • Exercise the powers conferred upon me in a responsible and controlled manner; and
  • Work actively towards preventing any form of corruption and to bring the perpetrators thereof to justice. (end of code)

I have now committed myself, as have all members of the service, to the Code of Conduct of the Service. I will adhere to the Code of Conduct and I expect each and every member to adhere to it and I will hold them accountable if they fail in their commitment.

Distinguished Guests - Ladies and Gentlemen

In closing I remain convinced that policing, despite all our good intentions and initiatives will not succeed unless all people of South Africa become actively involved. There should not be a need for the Police Service to offer rewards for information. It is the duty of every law-abiding citizen to support the police, to make any information about criminals and criminal activities available to the police - to become the eyes and ears of the police.

Let us stand together - Let us take hands

This is our country - we will not allow any criminal to take control of it - Thank you!