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Welcoming address: Lt Gen JK Phahlane Passing out parade

 Gauteng, 2016-12-15

The Minister of Police, Honourable Mr Nathi Nhleko,
The Deputy National Commissioner of Human Resource Management, Lt Gen Mgwenya,
Divisional Commissioners,
Provincial Commissioners,
Senior Management from the respective government departments represented at various levels,
Senior officers of the South African Police Service,
Stakeholders of the SAPS,
Traditional, religious and community leaders representing the various structures in society,
The leadership of POPCRU and SAPU,
Community Policing Forum structures,
SAPS members,
Members on parade,
Distinguished guests,
Families and friends,
Members of the news media,
Ladies and gentlemen,

Good morning

It is my honour and privilege to welcome you all to this important moment in our calendar as the South African Police Service.

We are today hosting a passing-out parade for young men and women of our country who have successfully completed their basic police training learning programme.  A passing-out parade comes only once in the life of a police officer’s career thus the importance of today’s event.

Honourable Minister of Police, we are grateful to have you in our midst at this distinctive and historic occasion in policing. 2016 has been a challenging year through which, with your support, we were able to prevail.  It has been a year during which many of our milestones and goals were achieved.  It has been a year where we felt, as the South African Police Service, that we got closer towards the realisation of our vision of ensuring that all people in South Africa are and feel safe. Members of the South African Police Service have dedicated their time towards the creation of the safety and security of our people during difficult periods when we were managing the #FeesMustFall, the 2016 local government elections, amongst others. The crime statistics for the 2015/2016 financial year and the first semester of the current financial year bears testimony to the commitment of the South African Police Service in ensuring that the people of our country are safe.  Minister, you were there leading and supporting us to ensure that we made our constitutional mandate and the expectations of the people of this country a reality.  We are indeed honoured by your presence here today.

The police trainees on parade are the first intake to graduate from the revised Basic Police Training Learning Programme which we introduced early in 2016.  At the time when this programme was introduced we attracted criticism and were attacked from some quarters, informed by lack of information and the logic behind the review. The implementation of the revised Basic Police Training Learning Programme, which addresses the core business of policing, has proven to be a strategic decision worth pursuing.  The revised programme comprised of an induction phase of one month, which was intended to familiarise the trainees with the police station and the basic activities of the community service centres.  Trainees develop, during this phase, a better understanding of police work and contribute towards improving their learning abilities.  A balance is maintained, in the programme, between theory and practice which enables the trainees to execute their functions upon completion of their training.  Following the completion of the academic phase of their training, members are then deployed as fully fledged constables to their various police stations across the country, where they serve a one-year probation period.

Honourable Minister, at the beginning of April 2016, 5000 new recruits participated in the basic police training learning programme.  A total of 4 941 of them have successfully completed the programme.  On parade today in Tshwane are 2561 trainees, 1466 of them are males and 1095 are females. In July this year, 3 441 trainees graduated after having completed their training, which has resulted in us ensuring the further capacitation of the South African Police Service with a total of over 8 000 newly trained police members in 2016. The SAPS is a dynamic organisation and as we implemented the Back-to-Basics approach to improve policing, our basic training programme also required transformation.

Minister, we present to you on parade today, women and men who have been carefully screened, selected and expertly trained.  We are proud to say that they have been equipped to use legal and policing skills to serve and protect as per our Constitutional mandate.  As attacks on and murders of police officials remains a serious concern, they have also undergone advanced tactical movements training.  In addition, they completed three weeks of crowd management training.

This graduation comes at an excellent time, just as South Africa moves into the busy festive season. Our new recruits have, over the past few weeks, been deployed in the malls and shopping centres here in Gauteng.  They have already experienced the reality of policing and, amongst them, some have already effected arrests. For example, one arrested a suspect in possession of an unlawful firearm, one arrested suspects with a stolen vehicle whilst another a suspect with a jamming device.  All these new recruits will continue to be deployed over the festive season to ensure a peaceful holiday season. We, in advance, want to express our appreciation to the families for supporting them and allowing them to sacrifice their holiday period.  Our back to basics programme towards a safer festive season was launched and is fully operational.  Members of the South African Police Service are called upon to intensify the policing operations towards the realisation of visibility across the streets of our country and the thorough investigation of crime.  The community at large is called upon to work together with the South African Police Service in the fight against crime.  The sharing of information on criminals and criminal activities during this period will go a long way in ensuring that the #CrimeMustFall becomes a reality.

Adding 5000 new police officials to the team today will ensure that the SAPS will be visible all over the country this festive season.

I congratulate every learner here on the completion of your training for police work. You are entering a new role now, one that is subject to intense scrutiny and demands. Remember, that the communities we serve are our partners, our stakeholders.  Community policing and mutual respect between the police and our public are vital ingredients of the Back-to-Basics approach.

Thank you also to the family members and friends of our new SAPS members for supporting and encouraging them during their time of training.

We wish all of you a safe festive season; do not drink and drive; speed kills.

Once more, you are all welcome, enjoy the proceedings of today with us.

I now invite the Minister of Police, Honourable Mr Nathi Nhleko to inspect the parade.

I thank you.