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Key Note Remarks by the Deputy Minister of Police, Hon. Ms. Makhotso Maggie Sotyu (MP) at the 1st SARPCCO Regional Training Conference for Women in Policing


Programme Director,
SARPCCO Leadership,
SAPS Top Management,
National Commissioners present
Member states delegates
SADC and Interpol representatives
All Police Officers,
Special guests
Esteemed Guests
All protocol observed

Distinguished Guests and Delegates of this Conference, I extend my very warm welcome to all of you on behalf of my Government and my Minister, Mr. Nkosinathi Nhleko.

I am told this is the first Southern African Regional Police Chiefs Cooperation Organisation (SARPCCO) Regional Training Conference for Women, and that the South African Police Service is hosting this Conference on behalf of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

This accolade is befitting for our country South Africa, because, since the democratic elected Government came into power in 1994, the ANC-led Government has consistently been putting enough gender equality legislation machinery to transform the status of women in general in South Africa.

This has been possible largely because South Africa dedicated itself to being an active signatory to all international instruments that commit to gender equality, instruments such as:

  • The Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women
  • UN Security Council Resolution 1325
  • Millennium Development Goal No. 3 Promote Gender and Equality & Empower Women

It is then no wonder that South Africa has been boasting of many progressive “firsts” in the empowerment of women in law enforcement.

In 2013, the South African Police Service became the first African Police Organization to host the International Association of Women Police (IAWP) Training Conference.

In 2014, on top of being the first ever woman national commissioner of police in 2012, the now suspended National Commissioner of Police also became the first female to take over the reins of chairpersonship of SARPCCO.

Inevitably, and despite adversities that we may face time-to-time, all these “firsts” have and will continue to open up doors for future women to pass through, and we must pay tribute to our Government for facilitating these “firsts”.

Notwithstanding, I also tend to align myself with a researcher who once said: “Achieving real change does not come just by recruiting more women; real change comes from improved implementable policies, structures and practices leading to changes in organizational culture”.

This means, instead of policing institutions ONLY focusing on re-structuring; re-training; and re-equipping the police; Management must also pay attention on changing the culture of policing, including shaping law enforcement agencies into a more gender sensitive organizations.

And, specifically, to achieve the above, SAPS must have strong women police networks and associations. What is needed is the mainstreaming and practicing of gender equality in all the SAPS Strategies, Policies, Standing Orders, and National Instructions.

As the SAPS hosts and attends the SARPCCO Women’s Training Conference, delegates must all take stock on all previous deliberations and resolutions taken at the 2013 IAWP Conference; at the 2014 SARPCCO Extra Ordinary Meeting Conference, and the recently held 2015 SARPCCO 20th Annual General Meeting.

The SARPCCO Women’s Network must then be the voice of all those lower ranked women police officers who might not be in this conference, but who continue to work in a range of challenging roles and hostile environments that resist reform.

These women police officers expect and anticipate implementable and impactful resolutions to empower them in their immediate mandate to fight crime.

Indeed, Distinguished Delegates and Guests, this Conference has come at a critical time, when South African is busy charting the way to implement the National Development Plan.

Through this plan, we must and we will eventually see a holistic transformed SAPS, with the same principles, values and standards across the country.

So, this platform must be an opportunity for effective articulation of transformation, development and empowerment of women police officers in particular.

It must a space for sharing ideas on how to mainstream issues of women empowerment and quality service delivery in the fight and prevention of crime globally, and in Africa, especially.

As we welcome you to South Africa, please let this Conference challenge and inspire you into action. We wish you well in your deliberations.

I thank you all.

Enquiries: Ms Nomsa Hani
Head of Office & Spokesperson
Cell: +27 (0) 82 772 2053