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Speech by Francois Beukman, ANC MP, (Chairperson Portfolio Committee on Police), SONA-debate, Monday, 19 February 2018 National Assembly, Cape Town

Introduction

Now is the time to lend a hand.

We say- Mr President, we agree now is the time- to restore confidence in the public institutions and state agencies in the criminal justice system.

Now is the time to lend a hand.

In his speech, the President said the following:

"This is the year in which we will turn the tide of corruption in our public institutions. The criminal justice institutions have been taking initiatives that will enable us to deal effectively with corruption".

The President also made the important point that the Commission on State Capture is not displacing the regular work of the country's law enforcement agencies in investigating and prosecuting all acts of corruption".

The ANC fully supports the statement of our President.

The primary constitutional and legislative duty of the SAPS including the DPCI, NPA including the Asset Forfeiture Unit, SIU and FIC and others who deal with investigations related to crime, corruption, money laundering, organised crime and tender fraud should be executed with diligence and speed.

The President in his capacity as President of the ANC said the following in the January 8 statement in East London and I quote:"

"Strong and efficient law-enforcement agencies are critical to the fight against corruption and crime generally, and to the restoration of the integrity and legitimacy of the state. In this regard, the ANC is of the firm view that the country's intelligence services, the police and prosecutorial authorities should be strengthened and fortified to act with professionalism, and without fear, favour or prejudice. They should continue to be at the forefront of the fight against corruption and state capture, and work with communities to deal decisively with acts of criminality that threaten to tear communities apart. These include child abuse, gender-based violence, substance abuse, human trafficking and many contact crimes that have been on the rise."

Fit and proper persons

Madam Speaker

We need in the first instance - leaders -women and men of integrity- in the said institutions who are beyond reproach, fit and proper persons who subscribe to the values of Act 108 of 1996, namely the Constitution of the Republic, and can make decisions without fear, favour and prejudice.

They must indeed be able to pass the through the eye of the needle-test.

If there are compromised individuals in these critical posts, they should leave voluntary and immediately, or be removed by the relevant executive authorities in terms of the applicable rules and legislative prescripts.

We need talented and patriotic South Africans appointed in these key posts who will act in the interest of the Republic and not at the behest of dubious commercial or private interest or dither due to other pressures.

The posts of the Head of the DPCI (Hawks) and the Head of Crime Intelligence was advertised in the Sunday newspapers two weeks ago,

We need South Africans with integrity, vision, skills and professionalism to fill these vacancies.

Secondly, we need to move with speed to amend outdated legislation like the Saps Act of 1995 to strengthen law enforcement in the Republic, but also civilian oversight.

Thirdly, the founding fathers and mothers of our Constitution -the Hon Speaker is one of them and our President of the Republic is indeed a profound founding father of our Constitution in their wisdom made provision for independent oversight institutions, distinct from the Legislature, who should oversee law enforcement agencies.

Mr President we should also consider additional measures to further strengthen institutions like the Inspector-General for Intelligence and the Independent Police Investigative Directorate and the DPCI (Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations) or better known as the Hawks.

Madam Speaker, now is the time also for the Commissioners, DPP's and Heads of Institutions to stand up and be counted in the fight against crime, corruption and state capture.

From the side of the ANC we say step up your efforts to deal with corruption. Our people want to see that perpetrators of crime who plundered the state coffers are arrested and prosecuted in the relevant fora and courts.

Our law enforcement agencies should interact with Interpol and their counterparts in other jurisdictions to ensure that all fugitives with relation to state capture are apprehended and brought to book.

NELSON MANDELA

2018 is the year of the first President of the democratic Republic of South Africa, President Nelson Mandela.

I want to quote from his three-hour speech on 20 April 1964 from the dock of the Rivonia Trial. The speech internationally known as the "It is an ideal I am prepared to die for"-speech, is a key moment in the history of South African democracy and one of the greatest speeches of all times.

"The time comes in the life of any nation when there remain only two choices - submit or fight. That time has now come to South Africa. We shall not submit and we have no choice but to hit back by all means in our power in defence of our people, our future, and our freedom".

I want repeat the quotation:

"The time comes in the life of any nation when there remain only two choices - submit or fight. That time has now come to South Africa. We shall not submit and we have no choice but to hit back by all means in our power in defence of our people, our future, and our freedom".

Madam Speaker

We are at the same crossroads. The fight is in 2018 against crime and corruption. We cannot submit to crime, corruption and state capture.

We must hit back to ensure that the values enshrined in our Constitution prevails.

TECHNOLOGY

From an international perspective, the most significant crime threat to countries, including South Africa, in the next ten years will be cybercrime. The DPCI needs to ensure that the capacity and training of staff for the Cyber-Crime Centre be prioritized during this financial year.

Two matters that needs the urgent attention of the Department of Police is the development of a policy proposal and study on e-policing and digital policing.

The law enforcement environment is a fast changing and evolving area.

Criminals have adapted to and embraced the technological advances of the 21st century.

The South African Banking Risk Information Centre estimates that the country loses R 2.2 billion to internet fraud and phishing attacks annually- that's about R 5.5 million a day.

According to the Norton Cybersecurity Insights Report, over 8.8 million South Africans were the target of online or cybercrime in 2016.

Unless e-policing and digital policing becomes part of the law and order lexicon the police services will be left behind and society will suffer the unintended consequences.

We must plan and prepare for the future.

SERIOUS ORGANISED CRIME

Madam Speaker, serious organised crime and serious corruption is a real and imminent danger to the basic foundations of our constitutional state, and building a resilient anti-corruption system.

Fighting corruption requires an anti-corruption system that is well-resourced, operates freely from political interference, and has the support of all citizens.

The President emphasized on Friday-evening that we must fight corruption, fraud and collusion in the private sector with the same purposes and intensity.

Our law enforcement agencies with specific reference to the DPCI and Commercial Crime Detective Unit of SAPS must further develope the necessary capacity and expertise to deal with complex private sector crime investigations.

STEINHOF-MATTER

We welcome the investigation launched by the DPCI into the Steinhoff-matter and other private sector related cases. We need to see prosecution-driven investigations. We need to see arrests. We need to see successful prosecutions. Economic crimes in the private sector that robs millions of South Africans from their hard-earned savings and pension-fund investments should never be tolerated.

We need to deal decisively with pertinent organised crimes like illegal mining, illicit flows and illegal cigarette smuggling that costs the national fiscus millions, and probably billions of rand of revenue.

The NDP is very clear on page 391:

"Re-establish units staffed with highly trained and professional police officers, to respond to changing crime trends such as narcotics, cybercrime, human trafficking, crimes against women and children, and international crime syndicates."
Excellence and professionalism should be the hallmark of our police service.

Mr President, we need to move faster with the establishment of the National Policing Board that is provided for the National Development Plan. The Board with multi-sectoral and multidisciplinary expertise should set standards for recruiting, selecting, appointing and promoting of police officers. The Board should also develop a code of ethics and analyse the professional standing of policing, based on international norms and standards.

LEADERSHIP

Madam Speaker, we must restore the confidence of our people in our institutions by taking strong and decisive action against those who act contrary to the law and the Constitution. Over the past week or two several current senior and former senior South African Police Service (Saps) officials have been subjected to court processes in the country. Some pleaded guilty on corruption-related charges, others were sentenced for long prison terms while others must still offer their pleas in related court cases.

The ANC condemns any act of criminality by any members of the law enforcement agencies, more so those committed by senior SAPS and Justice officials. We expect from senior officers and officials to lead in the fight against crime. We welcome on-going efforts by law enforcement agencies to deal with corrupt officials in their midst, but we need more urgency and decisiveness.

COMPULSORY LIFESTYLE AUDITS

Mr President, the immediate implementation of compulsory life-style audits and continuous integrity testing, apart from normal vetting procedures for senior officers and officials across the criminal-justice system, is the only way to go.

The new National Commissioner have committed himself last week to implement lifestyle-audits for all Senior Saps Management by the end of March 2018.

We need to spread this across the criminal-justice cluster as a matter of priority.

COMMUNITY POLICING STRATEGY

The President of the Republic indicated in his speech that the Community Policing Strategy will be implemented, with the aim of gaining of trust of the community and to secure their full involvement in the fight against crime.

As President Mandela said in October 1994 at the National Day of Safety and Security Summit and I quote:
"Every community in our country has a fundamental right to be free from fear. Each South African has the right to feel secure in their home, to feel safe in the cities, towns and rural areas. People should not fear the night. They must be able to travel to work, to school and other places without danger.
But these rights are being denied to many by criminals who do not hesitate to use violence to achieve their goals.
However, we say to you all: Do not despair. Together we can root out crime from our communities."

We echo these sentiments today.

The National Development Plan sets out the increased community participation in safety. Civil society organisations and civic participation are essential elements of a safe and secure society. Street committees, neighbourhood watches, patrollers, plaaswagte and Bambanani's should all form of a collective effort at local level to increase the safety of our communities.

Now is the time to lend a hand.

We welcome the introduction of a Youth Crime Prevention Strategy that will empower and support young people to be self-sufficient and become involved in crime fighting initiatives.

The school safety and campus safety programmes should be expanded and the ownership of these initiatives should rest with the scholars, teachers, students, lectures and parents.

Our police stations are the first port of call for victims of crime and they serve as coordination centres in the fight against crime.

The President indicated that the distribution of resources to police station level will be a major focus in 2018. From the side of the ANC we say that the deep rural stations as well as those in growing informal settlements and new developments should be prioritized. All police stations in the Republic wherever they are, should have the same ability and capability to deal with complaints of our people whether they are in Sibasa, Sea Point, Springbok or Sebokeng.

CRIME HOT SPOT AREAS

We agree with the President when he says that the necessary personnel are needed to restore capacity and experience especially in the crime hot spot areas of the country.

Now is the time to lend a hand.

Ons moet die beste polisie-stasie bevelvoerders en operasionale bevelvoerders in gemeenskappe ontplooi waar die gesag van die staat uitgedaag word, sodat ons mense nie die spreekwoordelike gevangenes van bendeleiers en misdaad-sindikate word nie. Of waar kinders dit nie kan waag om skool toe of winkel toe te loop nie, weens die kruisvuur van strydende misdaad-groepe .

Ons mense moet nie uitgelewer aan die base van smokkelhuise en dwelmbaronne nie, maar deur die betrokkenheid van gemeenskapleiers, kerke, moskees, skole en vrywillige organisasies saam met die polisie woonbuurte en nedersettings plekke van veiligheid en lewenskwaliteit maak.

Gemeenskaps polisieringsforums moet effektief en tersaaklik word as 'n menigvuldiger in die stryd teen misdaad. Enige misdaad-voorkoming en bestrydingsaksie is afhanklik van goeie intelligensie.

INTELLIGENCE-DRIVEN POLICING

Intelligence-driven policing is essential to deal with the primary source of crime. The turn-around strategy to restore the Crime Intelligence Division of the SAPS as a credible and real-time provider of intelligence products should be fast-tracked and closely monitored. Their core business should be conduct intelligence operations to address prioritized crime threats and provide intelligence products in support of policing activities.

The ANC welcomes the recent high-profile arrests by the DPCI focussing on corruption allegations at different levels of government and those linked to state capture.

We want to applaud the DPCI for their swift and decisive action.

The DPCI needs the support from all law-abiding citizens and we want to call on members of the public to assist with any relevant information that may assist in the solving of priority crime cases.

Madam Speaker

The winter of despair is over.

The spring of hope has arrived.

I thank you.

     
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