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Opening remarks delivered by Minister of Police General Bheki Cele delivered following meeting with Zululand business community


08 MARCH 2024


We have concluded a fruitful meeting with the business community of the Zululand Region and we wish to brief you on the outcomes of our morning discussions.

There is no doubt the Business sector plays a significant role in the economic development of the region and growth in our communities. 

Big or small; Businesses create employment opportunities and foster economic growth. 

At the same time we are well aware that crime, if not responded to accordingly, can have a negative impact on economic growth.

I wish to reflect on the genesis of this engagement. 

On the 23rd of February, His Excellency, President Cyril Rampahosa together with a government delegation met with the Durban Business community to discuss the growth of the KZN economy, through addressing challenges faced by the business community.

As the Minister of Police, I was part of the robust and frank discussions that also saw business leaders from the Zululand Region sharply call on the SAPS, to look into safety challenges threatening their lives and adversely affecting their livelihoods.

A commitment was then made to meet with the sector in the area and forge a way forward, on how the crime situation can be improved.

This morning, the Police Ministry and SAPS management led by National Commissioner, General Fannie Masemola have had honest discussions with the Zululand Chamber of Commerce and Industry led by CEO Hlengiwe Mvubu.

Through this morning's discussions, it is abundantly clear the stabilisation of the region and maintaining law and order, must remain high on the agenda.

We agree that criminality cannot and will not be tolerated.

Such should be dealt a heavy blow through collaboration between business, civil society and law enforcement.

Members of the media,

As you may know, the SAPS has had its eye on the region for some time.

Since 2021,  provincial teams have been set up and stationed in the region to look into the crime situation. 

This included a stabilisation team that was set up in September 2022 and is still stationed here.

These teams have been hard at work investigating criminal syndicates and indivisuals, terrorising business people and their establishments.



To date the police teams on the ground have investigated 68 dockets.

43 accused have since been arrested for charges ranging from murder, attempted murder, theft  trespassing, possession of suspected stolen property, unlawful possession of firearm and ammunition, fraud and intimidation.

47 of these cases are before the courts 



202 firearms have since been taken off the streets in the past three years, through the work of the specialized teams deployed to the region.

These include rifles, handguns and over 2 thousand rounds of ammunition.

High value of drugs and seven vehicles have so far been recovered during operations, which were stolen and some used for criminal intent.

These are some of the successes of the teams that have been deployed in the region in an attempt to bring stability.

They demonstrate that the SAPS has not turned its back on the region and all hands are on deck to squash criminality, despite budgetary constraints.

The SAPS will continue to investigate ALL crimes and ensure that those who choose illegalities for whatever motive, are brought to book.



Ladies and Gentlemen, what is CLEAR,

Conducting business is not a crime and it should NOT be a death sentence.

Businesses and communities should operate and thrive without fear – and this for us remains a non-negotiable.

The stabilization of three municipal districts that fall under the Zululand region remains high on the agenda.

Despite the budgetary constraints that have forced the scaling down of operations, this administration has committed ensuring that police continue with their work in the WHOLE region.

The national interventions will see more funding made available, to beef up the work of the specialised teams in the region to sweep away criminality.

This high-level intervention will translate to extra resources and better policing in identified areas.

It will mean policing teams will be stationed here to remove criminal obstacles that may hinder economic growth and threaten the safety of communities.

These policing interventions will remain until communities in the Zululand region feel the change and not live nor operate in fear.