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Speakers' Notes: Lieutenant General Mbekela, Deputy National Commissioner: First SARPCCO Regional Training Conference for Women in Policing (opening)

GAUTENG, 2015-10-20

Honourable Deputy Minister of the South African Police Service
National Commissioner of Zambia Police, Inspector General S Libongani
Member states delegates
SADC and Interpol representatives
Special guests
Esteemed Guests
All protocol observed

Ladies and gentlemen: welcome to South Africa once again.  Thank you for affording me the opportunity to stand before you today at such an important event.  The SARPCCO REGIONAL TRAINING CONFERENCE FOR WOMEN IN POLICING is the first of its kind.  This is a milestone for our SADC region, one that we all should pride ourselves on.

In the fitting words of Thomas Sankara, the former president of Burkina Faso,  who back in 1987 said: “The human being, this vast and complex combination of pain and joy, solitary and forsaken, yet creator of all humanity, suffering, frustrated and humiliated, and yet endless source of happiness for each one of us, this source of affection beyond compare, inspiring the most unexpected courage, this being called weak but possessing untold ability to inspire us to take the road of honour, this being of flesh and blood and of spiritual conviction – this being women, is you”.
Women you have out done yourselves. One wouldn’t be here today have you not boldly proclaimed and heightened the prominence you deserve as women in the SARPCCO. 

It is important that I acknowledge the police chiefs who in 2007 extended their blessings to the establishment of the SARPCCO Women’s Network. One of its objectives was to provide a strong support network structure for women employees within SARPCCO countries. 
Today our theme reads “building capacity and networks for women in policing”. This theme epitomises vision and action at play in its true sense.  History is being made today. We are committing ourselves to the work and putting in motion all things for woman in our SARPCCO.

Ladies and gentlemen: “A career in the police service is more than just a profession.  It is a vocation and in addition, the enthusiasm and commitment which it has always required specialised professional skill and expertise are required in the complex society of today” PJ Schabort.

There are many women who still face domestic violence and other forms of oppression on our continent. Each one of you here today remains a beacon of hope to those women.

Ladies and gentlemen: policing is rather a demanding profession.  It begs each police to defend the vulnerable at all and in many instances our police pay with their lives in this regard. When things are hard societies turning on each other, police men and women leave all that they are doing to serve by responding to these volatile situations.

In terrible scenes, police are there, in trying times when unexpected events occur, police men and women answer to the call.  We have seen the efforts of women come to fruition when their extensive investigations ensure that perpetrators face the full might of the law.

Ladies and gentlemen: I am excited by having seen the line-up in our programme for this conference.  The experienced personnel and academics that specialise in certain various disciplines are in our vicinity and I have a feeling one will leave this conference a different an even better employee.  This conference has crafted a range of dynamic speakers and presenters that we all look up to. 

Our robust engagements, reports and presentations will give us a perspective on theories, concepts, methodologies and strategies for change and development in our various fields of specialisation.

If the Women’s Network is to establish itself as developmental think tank for women in policing, this is the exact way to begin. 

Ladies and gentlemen: it has become a norm in many instances, that we deliberate far reaching matters in meetings of this magnitude, but never get to implement our very own resolutions we have agreed upon. It is always refreshing when we not only agree on resolutions but act on them.  SARPCCO Women’s Network continues to exist as the primary home for female members that require skills for development and equity transformation.

The developmental approach shown in the Women’s Network through SARPCCO I believe should always underpin unison, be a centre of excellence, embrace one another as women, share your stories, and define your destinies through participation, education, research and in inclusive decision making.

Ladies and gentlemen: the mathematician and philosopher Alfred North Whitehead once said that "The art of progress is to preserve order amid change and to preserve change amid order."  In the face of adversity and challenges the strength of an organisation is tested.  
May our conference be the diagnosiss of all the challenges we encounter.   May these translate into strategies, that is, specific courses of action for programmatic interventions that use a variety of techniques that will see the SARPCCO Women’s Network succeed in all its future endeavours.
Thank you