Commissioner of the South African Police Service Statement

Pretoria, 23 November 2017: Yesterday, the newly appointed National Commissioner of the South African Police Service (SAPS), General Khehla Sitole, outlined his vision for the South African Police Service at a press briefing in Pretoria.

The Minister of Police, Minister Fikile Mbalula, introduced the new National Commissioner. General Sitole expressed his appreciation to Government for having entrusted him with the responsibility of leading the SAPS.

The National Commissioner highlighted that the SAPS as an organization, is facing a number of challenges, the most pressing being crime. At the onset, the National Commissioner announced his vision to deal with the current situation:  “Turning the creation of safe and secure environment into a crime free conducive climate for socio-economic stability in support of a better life for all.”

It is the vision of the SAPS to create a safe and secure environment for all the people in South Africa. Consequently, this organization has now reached a turning point, whereby the vision of the SAPS must be integrated into the strategic policy, legislation and the advancement of the modus operandi of criminals. It is therefore an honour for the National Commissioner to share his turnaround strategy:

• Creating a crime-free country that is conducive to socio-economic stability, in support of a better life for all.  This is to be achieved by linking the National Crime Combating Strategy to the National Development Plan, the National Crime Prevention Strategy, and the vision and mission statement of the country.

In order to implement this particular vision, the SAPS can no longer work in isolation from the other processes of government as the SAPS has a responsibility to protect all the outcomes as outlined in the National Development Plan. It is, therefore, crucial to protect the grand economic strategy of the country to ensure sustainable economic growth.

Crime has manifested itself in such a manner that it has begun to deter investment in certain areas, as criminals contaminate the moral fibre of our country.

The vision of the National Commissioner is that of a two-tier approach – ‘The Quick Win Approach’ and the ‘Medium to Long-term Approach’.

The vision is complimented by the theme ‘On a journey to a safer South Africa’, which is complimented by the slogan ‘Patriotic selflessness is our business as usual’. The police’s work will not be done for a salary, but as a calling.

The National Commissioner divides his vision into four parts:

1. ‘Stamping the authority of the State’ – there are various ways in which crime manifests, and the aim is to undermine policing in the country, therefore suggesting that the authority of the State is not taken seriously. One tendency is the murder of police officers. The Police Safety Strategy will require immediate and drastic operationalising to ensure that our members are equal to the task, while not suffering any negative consequences because they are properly trained and have the resources to effectively carry out their duties, at their disposal.

There are some areas in the country that criminals have declared as ‘no-go areas’. Sadly, communities have developed a tendency of protecting criminals by attacking the police. We are going to reclaim all the ‘no-go areas’ and stamp the authority of the State on these areas. In certain areas there are ‘gang showdowns’ where at times, criminals do not even care that the police are in the vicinity. Part of the ‘stamping the authority of the State’ will be a ‘stabilisation approach’ to take criminals ‘head-on’ and continue with the ‘normalisation strategy’, which will adopt the prevention approach. Criminals who are carrying out heists and are impairing the grand economic strategy of the country, will be dealt with decisively as the SAPS is empowered to disarm, arrest and take offenders through the criminal justice system as we have the investigative capacity. We will also be addressing the ‘cash movement strategy’, because criminals target various security companies which they perceive as weak at present. It is therefore imperative that this collaboration requires a ‘cash movement strategy’.

2. Part and parcel of the ‘quick win approach’ will be the revival of the Organised Crime Threat Assessment (OCTA). The National Commissioner is of the view that syndicates have become very confident and seem to think that they can dictate how the country will be run and cause harm to the country. As a result, we will immediately operationalise to formalise the OCTA, which will be dealing with and strengthening the unconventional as well as the conventional approaches to policing. Beyond the OCTA, we will formalise a modus operandi analysis in the organisation. Currently, we are investigating the crime that criminals commit and criminals take the time to design a modus operandi that is capable of producing one million crimes. When only one of these crimes is committed, we rush after it and investigate it, but we do not address the modus operandi as such.

We are not only going to focus on the crime, but will destroy the modus operandi’ of criminals, in order to deter them. We strongly believe that when the Minister spoke of innovation and creativity, it will require a ‘powerhouse concept’ in the organisation. For this to be realised, we will be sourcing ideas and input through consultation and engagement from the 195 000 members of personnel in the SAPS, as we have talent, innovation and creativity in abundance within our organization.

We will also deal with the stabilization and normalization of hotspots and crime-weight stations, which is part of the geographical approach by planning and executing hotspot interventions. Immediately after hotspots have been stabilized, normalization interventions which centre around the route-cause matrix, will be implemented because at all the hotspots and the crime-weight stations, we will be formalizing both route-cause and modus operandi analysis. For all the route-causes we will be designing a route-cause matrix, which will defer all route-causes to the disciplines where they belong. The National Commissioner quoted an excerpt from the National Development Plan: “The collapse of the National Crime Prevention Strategy made the SAPS an all-purpose agency with an over-stretched mandate, impossible to fulfil”. In other words, at present, the absence of a route-cause matrix has made the SAPS responsible for the roles and responsibilities of all disciplines.

We will be focusing on the democratic policing process, which will be achieved through the community-centred approach, whereby the NCPS will be reviewed and realigned with the NDP, which will facilitate the development of a National Crime Prevention Framework for the country, centred at levels levels, namely national, provincial and local level. This will result in a Local Policing Framework at local level, which will include a Community Safety Plan. The Community Policing Strategy will be implemented with the aim of gaining the trust of the community and to secure their full involvement in the crime-fighting strategy. A slight correction will be made to the policy framework focusing on the CPF, which is a tool to implement community policing. For the tool to be right, the focus needs to be on the concept and the concept in this case requires a strategy to be operationalised. We have a CPF Strategy which will be operationalised as part of the ‘Quick Win Approach’.

3.   Another approach is that we will also be looking at de-resourcing the criminals. By this we mean that we will be taking young people out of reach of the criminals, as it has been found that in 80% of criminal operations, young people are used as runners, in hijackings and or are victims. To achieve this, we will be formulising the Youth Crime Strategy which seeks to empower and support  young people in order to for them to become self-sufficient and become involved in crime fighting initiatives.

4.   The fourth approach is the distribution of resources to police station level. This will include personnel and other resources to restore capacity and experience to face the criminals, where crime is taking place at local level.

There is more in store in terms of other strategies, but these will be communicated later on as we embark on this journey to a safer country.