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Speaker notes by Acting National Police Commissioner, Lieutenant General Phahlane at the, handing over of vehicles & cameras to POP Unit



Programme Director
Deputy National Commissioner for Policing, Lt Gen Masemola
Divisional Commissioner of Operational Response Services, Lt Gen Mawela
Divisional Commissioner: Detective Services, Lt Gen Nkomo
Senior Officers of the South African Police Service
All SAPS members on parade
Members of the news media

Distinguished guests

Good morning and thank you for joining us at this important event for the Public Order Policing environment as we hand over essential resources which will allow POP members throughout the country to carry out their important duties more effectively.

Today we are handing over 88 vehicles and 35 cameras to the POP units countrywide.  This is part of the bigger plan of rolling out programmes of action against all forms of criminality and violence, thus ensuring that #CrimeMustFall.  

To quote the acknowledged father of community policing, Robert Peel: “The police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.”

Post-1994 saw a process of wide ranging reform aimed at establishing a service-orientated South African Police Service (SAPS).  Our Constitution confirmed our mandate as expressed in the SAPS Act of 1995, the National Crime Prevention Strategy of 1996 and the 1988 White Paper on Safety and Security. Legislation and prescripts shaped the SAPS that we are today.  We have come of age and continue to build a better organisation and this can only realise a better and safer South Africa for all.  

Through the ‘Back to Basics’ approach we are striving to get closer to the envisioned government plan, the National Development Plan (NDP) which seeks to professionalise the SAPS and demilitarise it. We are providing for safety using an integrated approach and enhanced commitment in participation of society in safety programmes.  The demilitarisation of the police service according to the NDP should return policing to the ideals of the Constitution and in line with the recommendations of the NDP.

Distinguished guests, our Republic was founded on peace and reconciliation. However, currently there is an upsurge in violent incidents, which require urgent additional interventions from the SAPS. It is anticipated that this climate of protest will not decline in the foreseeable future, due to the current climate of dissatisfaction with service delivery and other contributory factors.  

Over the years, the POP Units have played an important role in demonstrating their capacity and ability to retain peace and stability in times of violent protests. With, at times, minimal resources, the POP Units have been able to live up to its constitutional obligations of maintaining peace and order in our communities.  

Public Order Policing continues to ensure the maintenance of public safety firstly by ensuring public order during public gatherings and demonstrations.

Ladies and gentlemen, the enhancement of the existing POP Units through additional capacity, the re-establishment of the previous POP Units which were closed during various restructuring processes, and the establishment of new POP Units, will ensure equal distribution of human and other resources. On average, each POP Unit will serve four clusters and 22 police stations.

This will enhance the POP Units’ reaction time. Less time and money will be spent on travelling and accommodation, since the units will be closer to the hotspot areas. There are currently 27 official, provincial POP Units and one POP Reserve Unit. With the implementation of the strategic plan, the POP capacity will increase to 50 provincial POP Units and four POP Reserve Units.

This capacitation process is, in part, our acknowledgement and response to the Farlam Commission of Enquiry’s recommendations, which we regard as very important. We have strengthened our intelligence, legal and detective resources to support the POP operations, such as optimising facilities management for the POP Units and enhancing the integration of our systems.

Violence, looting and stealing are unfortunately often part of the protest actions because people incorrectly think that, as they are part of a large group, they will not be identified. We are saying to you today that we have the technology to identify the unlawful protest leaders and participants. Through enhanced technology systems, we are able to identify them and we will seize the stolen goods and arrest perpetrators. We will not allow this country to degenerate into lawlessness.

I sincerely hope that every member who serves behind the POP badge, will understand the profound symbolism of the badge. There is a fine line, the so-called thin blue line, between stability and anarchy, which the POP Units protect. They will forever hold the line, protecting the vulnerable.  Therefore, the retention of peace and stability by exercising maximum restraint should always be foremost in our minds when we conduct our duties.

No organisation understands the dangers in our society like the SAPS, therefore the SAPS stays true to its calling and remains resolute to maintain law and order by restoring peace and stability in the communities experiencing protests.

With all the dangers we face, we will not stand on the sideline and watch our communities under siege. By handing over 88 vehicles and 35 cameras to our POP Units today, we are saying that we are committed to all South Africans and we will fulfil our mission of a safe and secure South Africa for all.

Thank you

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