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Speaker notes for Police Minister General Bheki Cele (MP) at the National Police Commemoration Day 2021
2021/09/05

SPEAKER NOTES FOR POLICE MINISTER GENERAL BHEKI CELE (MP) ON THE OCASSION OF THE NATIONAL POLICE COMMEMORATION DAY 2021 HOSTED IN PRETORIA ON THE 5TH OF SEPTEMBER 2021

Programme Director;
The President of the Republic of South Africa, His Excellency Mr Cyril Ramaphosa;
Deputy Minister of Police, Mr Cassel Mathale;
Chairperson of Portfolio Committee on Police, Ms Tina Joemat-Pettersson;
National Commissioner of Police, General Kehla Sitole;
National Head Directorate for Priority Investigation, Lt Gen (Dr/Adv) Lebeya
The Spouses, Parents, Children and Families of our fallen heroes and heroines;
Deputy National Commissioners; Provincial and Divisional Commissioners;
Chairperson of the South African Police Service Education Trust, Father Mkhatshwa;
CPF National Secretary, Mr Pillay;
POPCRU President, Mr Cebekhulu;
SAPU Acting President, Ms Mkhize;
All Virtual Viewers across the country;
All SAPS members;
Members of the media;
Ladies and Gentlemen;

Sanibonani, Dumelang, Avuxeni…

May I humbly request that we all take a moment of silence, in remembrance of our fallen heroes and heroines who died in the line of duty.

In honour of our constitutional mandate of serving and protecting the citizens of this country.

(MOMENT OF SILENCE)

Programme Director,

Allow me to extend this remembrance to the families and colleagues of about 852 members who have succumbed to COVID 19 related complications; since the outbreak of the pandemic last year.

Ladies and gentlemen, the reality is that, to us the pain goes beyond the numbers, but it cuts deep when

  • we see empty desks in the workplace;
  • when we see reduced number of members on parade;
  • When we see police stations with severe shortage of members;
  • But ~ the pain cuts even more deep to the parents, the spouses, children and families of our fallen men and women in blue; because of the sudden and untimely departure of their loved ones. 

This weekend we buried three of our own, targeted for their service pistols and killed mercilessly by criminals.

The Deputy Minister of police and I attended the funeral services of Sergeant Nkosinathi Ngcobo in KwaZulu-Natal and Sergeant Pumlani Dastile in the Eastern Cape on Friday.Yesterday, we bid farewell to Sergeant Sharon Mogale in Ekurhuleni, she was gunned down during Womens Month and her service pistol was also stolen.

Sergeant Mogale, Sergeant Ngcobo and Sergeant Dastile’s lives were cut short by ruthless criminals and we will leave no stone unturned to find them.

Today, we honour those officers who never made it back home.

We commemorate members in blue, who gave their lives in the service of a mission to serve and to protect.

Having opened my remarks on that note Programme Director;

May I take this opportunity to heartily welcome all of you to this poignant occasion; the National Police Commemoration Day, 2021.

Your presence here today speaks volumes to our hearts and minds.

As per our tradition, every first Sunday of September, we as the SAPS family, gather and take comfort in our shared bereavement.

How I wish we as a country, could reach a point where there is no longer need to have this annual tradition; because our officers are no longer dying while serving their communities.

This year, due to COVID-19 regulations, the National Commemorations will again be hosted partly physical and virtual with provinces, hosting individual commemorations to avoid a large-scale event.

This is in line with COVID-19 protocols and guidelines.

It is therefore also an honour for me to warmly welcome all our virtual viewers, from across the country.

While COVID-19 pandemic has imposed restrictions altering the manner in which we traditionally host the National Commemoration Day.

We remain resolute in our plight to accentuate the importance of this day, in remembrance of the gallant men and women in blue who sacrificed their lives, to protect and serve the people of this country.

Fallen but never forgotten, through our burdened hearts, we owe it to our departed officers, to celebrate and remember the remarkable and dedicated lives they lived.

They held our South African Flag in high esteem.

Distinguished guests,

Today we are immensely honoured by the presence of the President of the Republic of South Africa, His Excellency Mr Cyril Ramaphosa.

Mr President, your presence lends dignity and solemnity to this occasion, as befitting to our fallen members; who sacrificed their very lives for this country you preside over and its citizens.

We thank you for your continued support to our law enforcement officers and we sincerely welcome you to this National Commemoration Day, as the highest authority of our country.

A special welcome to the Deputy Minister of Police, the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee and Committee members and we would like to appreciate their continued efforts in serving this portfolio with utmost diligence.

Equally, let me acknowledge and welcome the National Commissioner of the SAPS General Sitole and his management team;

We remain encouraged by your continued endeavours of ensuring that the people of South Africa are and feel safe albeit the evolving challenges in the criminal justice space.

To this end, I would like to recognize and welcome the leadership of organised labour, the SAPS Orphans Trust fund, the entities in the ministry of Police.

Let me recognise all members of the South African Police Service present here today, as well as those watching over virtual platforms.

Programme Director,

Most importantly, allow me to convey our warm and heartfelt welcome to the husbands, wives, parents, fiancés, children and families of our fallen members; who are with us today.

A warm welcome to those watching this occasion on the various virtual platforms.

The rest of us can never fully understand what you have and continue to go through following your loss.

But please know that we hold you in our hearts, not just today, but always.

The country is forever indebted in you and it is on behalf of all of us, the entire South African people, that I offer my thoughts, my prayers, and my thanks.

We are extremely grateful to the unconditional support you rendered to these officers during their policing careers.

The deaths of these 34 members should not be in vain.

Their loss should remind us all as a nation; the importance of community policing partnerships.

It is clear citizens can no longer afford to be bystanders in their communities.

Each day we all should work better at being active citizens.  Once again, I welcome you all.

Siyanamukela nonke.

I Thank you