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Speakers notes by General Sitole National Launch Safer Festive Season and MySAPS App, KwaZulu-Natal
2019/10/25

KwaZulu- Natal; 25 October 2019

Minster of Police, General Cele
Deputy Minister of Police, Mr Mathale
Premier of KwaZulu-Natal, Mr Zikalala
Members of the Executive Council
Executive Mayor of Ethekwini Metro, Councillor Kaunda
Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee
Deputy National Commissioners
Provincial and Divisional Commissioners
Senior management of the SAPS
Department of Tourism
Traditional Leaders
Chairperson of Community Policing Forums
Vodacom SA
Stakeholders
SAPS members and personnel
Community members
Distinguished guests
Members of the media present
All protocol observed

Good morning Ladies and gentlemen. My warmest greetings are extended to everyone present at this significant occasion, the National Launch of the 2109 Safer Festive Season here in Umlazi, KwaZulu-Natal. It is my distinct honour to provide you with an overview not only of the Launch of the Safer Festive Season Operations but also the launch of MySAPS App, a ground breaking and exciting concept which has been long overdue for the SAPS as an organisation.

Allow me then to firstly elaborate on the National Launch of the Safer Festive Season with the theme “Zizojika Izinto - turning the tide against crime” aimed at ensuring that specific interventions are put in place in order to ensure a safe and secure South Africa that is conducive for social and economic stability, supporting a better life for all.

In response to the recent State of the Nation Address delivered by the President of the Republic of South Africa that violent crime should be reduced by 50 % in the next decade, the Minister of Police’s Budget Vote for the Department 2019/2020 which reiterated the directive by the President to maximise efforts to reduce the levels of violent crime, enhance policing of transport related crimes and address high levels of corruption as well as the recently released crime statistics, the South African Police Service initiated specific interventions, which also include the Safer Festive Season operations from October 2019 to January 2020 to drastically reduce crime. The safer festive season operations will be launched in the other provinces as well, and will be aligned with the national Safer Festive Season launch.

Fighting crime and corruption remains a priority in terms of the National Development Plan, Vision 2030 as well as the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Programme of Action in terms of the Medium Term Strategic Framework and the Medium Term Expenditure Framework, and in addressing the threats raised in the National Security Strategy and the annual National Intelligence Estimate. The safety and security of all people in South Africa is critical to ensure our Constitutional democracy, the authority of the state and for investor confidence and economic development.

In line with this, the JCPS Cluster has developed an integrated strategic and action plans to ensure a safe South Africa and to contribute towards investment, social cohesion, safe communities, and maintaining the rule of law. The Integrated Action Plan encompasses of six main pillars which are Community Outreach and Humanitarian Services, Unlocking Economic & Entrepreneurial Potential, Legal and Regulatory Framework, International Cooperation, Safety and Security and Communication.

Program Director, ladies and gentlemen, the SAPS will be working around the clock to conduct operations countrywide during this period, focusing on high visibility of police officers at shopping centres and conducting operations and patrols at all of South Africa’s border posts and tourist destinations over the festive season.  Our ports of entry will also be busier than usual, as more people enter and leave the country for various reasons. A zero tolerance approach will be followed against the abuse of alcohol, especially drinking in public, substance abuse and crimes related to it. Parents and care takers of children, especially young children will be charged in terms of the Children’s Act, 38 of 2005 if they neglect or abandon their children as it has been a tendency over the festive season for some parents to conveniently “loose” their children to partake in festive season activities and leave their children abandoned or unattended to.

Ladies and gentlemen, operations during the festive season will primarily be focussed on crimes against women and children, and other contact crimes such as murder, attempted murder, assault, sexual offences; Seizing of illegal firearms, Transport related crimes, Trio crimes, cash in transit heists, illicit economy crimes, illicit drug trafficking, illicit mining, Illicit and counterfeit goods, human trafficking and smuggling, illegal migration, theft of ferrous and non-ferrous metals, hijacking and illegal occupation of buildings and stock theft.

At this time, our men and women in blue work tirelessly to serve and protect all the people in the country and we thank them in advance for their patriotism and selflessness to ensure a safe and peaceful festive season for all.

The SAPS is firmly committed to continue developing and enhancing strategies and implement plans to fight crime in collaboration with various stakeholders and law-abiding citizens in South Africa. Our presence here today bears testimony to the SAPS’s commitment to our Constitutional obligations, which are to prevent, combat and investigate crime, to maintain public order, to protect and secure the inhabitants of South Africa and their property, and to uphold and enforce the law. We however need community participation through the community policing strategy and communities in blue concept to assist the SAPS in the fight against crime.

Ladies and gentlemen, I now wish to briefly touch on the Launch of the MySAPS App. In moving with the times and advancing towards the use of technology to fight crimes, the SAPS together with Vodacom today, proudly launches the MySAPS App in conjunction with the National Safer Festive Season Launch. This is a Project aimed at addressing the concerns from the citizens to the South African Police Service in terms of reporting criminals and their unlawful criminal activities in urban and rural communities. During the past years, social media usage has increased and this innovative application comes at a befitting time so that we are aligned with the demands of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and various social medial platforms.

MySAPS Mobile App is an application available for iPhone and Android smartphones. This application allows citizens to submit crime tip-offs anonymously to the Crime Stop Call Centre and to provide updates, to retrieve their nearest police station information using their exact location from a mobile device especially for vulnerable people who are victims of crime, such as rape victims who urgently need to reach a rape crisis centre. The App further enables citizens to easily access SAPS Social Media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram).

SAPS developed the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data String (USSD) which is a technology that uses feature phones which will allow citizens to access police services through inserting a short code (*134*10111#) and report crime tip-offs anonymously The USSD String is available in IsiZulu, Sepedi and English. The remaining official languages will be available in six months.

When submitting a tip-off on the Mobile Smart phone application to Crime Stop, the reporter will receive his/her own unique reference number to use for easy reference or to provide additional information at any given time. By selecting not to remain anonymous, it provides the functionality that the Call Centre agent and the tipster can communicate by requesting additional information. However the call centre agent will still not able to see your identity as it will be encrypted.

The mobile smart phone application has the capability to upload videos which will take up to 2 Mega Bites, photographs only takes one photo at a time and voice note takes 20 seconds depending on the network strength which can be submitted to Crime Stop. MySAPS application is developed in a phased approached hence the first phase is currently available on Google play Store and Apple Store. All information concerning crime tip-offs can be submitted to the Crime Stop Centre with confidence as it has been in operation for the past 27-years and Crime Stop has never compromised a single informer.

All the inputs to improve the MySAPS Mobile App are welcomed to be submitted to SAPS Technology Management Services who will also present a short demonstration on the use of the App after my address.

That being said, ladies and gentlemen, the SAPS is on a mission to advance its ways of operating in a technology driven world in order to remain useful and relevant to both new and older generations of the people we serve. I am proud to announce that MySAPS App is up and running and through interactions with the community we have already started to market the App and to demonstrate to them how it works. The launch of the App occurs at what I deem a perfect time to coincide with the launch of the safer festive season campaign which is usually a hectic period of heightened criminal activities.

Therefore, I would like to encourage each and every one gathered here to download the App to make our interactions as crime fighters in our own respective right to be a lot easier. I also encourage you to encourage your friends, colleagues and family members, particularly your children to download and make use of the App to simplify and speed up ways of locating the nearest police station as well as ways of communicating with the police in the event of a troublesome or critical situation.

I wish to sincerely thank Vodacom SA as well as all role players in the SAPS who were at the forefront of ensuring that MySAPS App sees the light of day. With access to police services at the tip of our fingers, tackling crime will be a lot easier and quicker for the benefit of all within the boundaries of South Africa and beyond.

Ladies and gentlemen, I have just one earnest appeal to make, please do not abuse this App by making hoax submissions, etc,. Currently we experience some 70% hoax and prank calls through our 10111 emergency call centre. This puts a huge strain on our resources and therefore, my appeal is that may all information provided through this App benefit our cause to decisively deal with crime. 

In conclusion, allow me to use this opportunity to assure you that our police members will be out in their numbers to protect and serve the communities before, during and after the festive season. We thank them for their selfless service and dedication to rid our society of criminals and criminal activities, and urge them to be vigilant and safe at all times. Their efforts are commended and appreciated by the SAPS and the entire country.

 

Thank you.