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Speaker notes for the Minister of Police, General Bheki Cele on the occasion of the Troika meeting hosted on 29 March 2022 in Sandton, South Africa
2022/03/29

Speaker notes for the Minister of Police, General Bheki Cele on the occasion of the Troika meeting hosted on 29 March 2022 in Sandton, South Africa

Ministry of Justice, Constitutional and Religious Mozambiqu; Hon Dra Filomena
Minister of Interior, United Republic of Tanzania; Hon. Eng. Hamad Yussuf MASAUNI
Minister Interior of the Republic of Mozambique; Hon. Arsenia Felecidade Felix MASSINGUE
Regional Representative for Southern Africa, UNODC; Mr Marcos Texeira,
National Commissioner of the SAPS; General Sitole
The National Head of DPCI; Lt Gen Adv Dr Lebeya
Deputy National Commissioners of the SAPS present;
Senior officials of the SAPS
Head of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime; Mr David O’Connell
Director of Trilateral Planning Cell (TPC), Colonel Mendes
Representatives from Zimbabwe and Eswatini
Members of the media
Distinguished Guests
Ladies and Gentlemen

Sanibonani, Good Morning

It is an honour for me to address you on this significant occasion. This two-day meeting of Troika member states gives us yet another opportunity, to implement effective and impactful ways to cut off the illegal drug trade in our region. As we are all aware, South Africa is a maritime country with a coastline of over 2 800 kilometers.

The southern route from Afghanistan through Pakistan to Tanzania and Mozambique, remains the main route for heroin into this country. It is here, where it is stockpiled for distribution to the global markets. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, South Africa has excellent infrastructure of roads and rail, telecommunication, airports, and seaports facilities. All of these are also used to transit illicit drugs, particularly cocaine, heroin. I guess the saying, “we are victims of our own successes” does apply. In his address to this meeting on Monday, the National Head of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI) Lt General Adv Dr Lebeya, He revealed that Afghan heroin is transported from Afghanistan via Pakistan, from where it is loaded on dhows to make its way to the East Coast of Africa, to either Tanzania or Mozambique. Once on land, the bulk loads are brought in and concealed in false compartments inside vehicles, especially hidden in light delivery vans and smaller trucks. The contraband is then transported to the economic hub of the country in Gauteng, where it is stockpiled for further distribution for the local and international market. General Lebeya painted a clear picture of how we as individual countries, are affected by this illicit trade.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Let me not mince my words when I say South African law enforcements remain ready and able to enforce and maintain the law within our borders. We, as a country, are also VERY committed to actively play our part to combat the illicit drug trade and associated criminal activities in the region.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We are encouraged that this fight on drugs is not ours alone. This Ministerial Troika which is endorsing the Trilateral Strategy to counter drug trafficking on the Southern route, shows the willingness at ALL levels.

We, as the Troika nations, are in this together and we will combat it together. In 2019, Ministers responsible for policing in the Republics of South Africa, Mozambique and Tanzania met. Together with the support of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), we developed the Trilateral Strategy known as the Trilateral Planning Cell (TPC). This Tripartite Alliance certainly demonstrates all our countries’ individual and combined commitments, in combating maritime transnational organised crime. As the South African Police Service, in partnership with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, we remain duly committed to our international obligations aimed at combating lawlessness; whether at sea, land or in the air.

Honourable Ministers,

Prior to the establishment of the Trilateral Planning Cell (TPC) the Troika countries experienced large volumes of heroin entering the region. The highly sophisticated and dangerous drug networks knew our security vulnerabilities and lack of coordination and partnership. They used this to advance and to expand their criminal activities. The illegal drug trade has increasingly become more diverse and sophisticated.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This Tripartite Alliance must change the game and we must now play by our rules.  It is through this partnership that gains have and continue to be made. Much has been done to mitigate the southern route’s drug trafficking flow. Together, we have managed to disrupt the movement of drugs brought to our shores, through our combined efforts and regional cooperation. We continue to disrupt and at the same time deter organised criminal networks associated with the heroin trade into and or via our respective countries. If we are to fully suffocate this drug network, we will have to work with more regional partners so that the criminal syndicates don’t find other gaps in other countries to penetrate our beloved continent, hence the first move of inviting Zimbabwe and Eswatini and Malawi.

Programme Director,

It is becoming abundantly clear that together as drug enforcement agencies of the trilateral states, we certainly can and we WILL do more. More work to counter this crime still lies ahead. Indeed it is through this platform and up to us as the three nations to ensure that trans-national drug traffic in our countries is dealt with, without fear, favour or delay. Together we must cut off the heads of these criminal networks through intelligence gathering, information analysis and sharing. We must study these networks, gather as much intelligence on them and their modi operandi, this will allow us to always be a step ahead of them. It is through exchanging information of lessons learnt and best practices between states, that we can deal the organised drug syndicates a heavy blow. While appreciating that we are all sovereign states, some of our legislations, policies and regulations must talk to each other. As the three countries, and ultimately as South African Development Community (SADC) we MUST speak and act in one voice against those who manufacture, sell and trade contrabands.

Distinguished delegates, part of our strategy should be directed at the proceeds of illegal drug trade. Our Assets Forfeiture capacities should be sharpened to aim at the pockets of the syndicate in order to send a clear message that crime does not pay. I am confident that with our combined efforts and with clear political direction, the TPC will hit these drug crime syndicates, were it hurts the most. I look forward to the commitments emanating from these crucial and necessary engagements. We have no choice but to implement tactics and operations that will have meaningful outcomes and ultimately make impact on the lives of citizens of our respective countries and the world over.

I Thank You


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