The South African Police Service officially launched its nationwide campaign for a safer festive season yesterday in Seshego in the Limpopo province.

It is common knowledge that the festive season is a time when most people take time off work to relax and spend time with their families. Unfortunately, it is also during this time that opportunistic criminals may prey on unsuspecting victims and accidents on our roads increase alarmingly.

A comprehensive operational plan has been implemented to mitigate the threats of criminality in general and on our roads as well as to prevent other types of accidents such as drownings.

This plan which entails the deployment of highly visible, multi-disciplinary law enforcement teams, will focus on the following critical areas :-

  • Combating Aggravated/Armed Robberies (House robberies, business robberies and vehicle hi-jacking);
  • Enforcement of Firearm, Liquor and Second Hand Goods and Safety at Sports and Recreational Events Act (SASREA);
  • Crimes against Women, Children and Vulnerable Persons;
  • Enforcement of By-laws, eg Hijacked buildings, unlawful sale of fire crackers;
  • Enforcing Road Safety, eg Drunken driving, speeding, driving of unroadworthy vehicles;
  • Enhancing Border Security, searching of stolen properties crossing the borders, drugs, human trafficking, tracing of wanted suspects.

To achieve these objectives there are multiple intelligence-driven and high visibility operations at all identified areas, which have already begun. These operations will include regular vehicle and foot patrols, roadblocks, cordon and search operations and the tracing of wanted suspects.

All law abiding citizens can rest assured that before, during and even after the festive season, the members of the SAPS will be out in their numbers upholding their commitment to serve and protect their communities and in doing so, we will continue to adopt a zero-tolerance approach to criminality.

We already have the commitment of various critical stakeholders including the national and provincial road traffic departments and other government departments from the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster. The support of all persons in South Africa cannot be overemphasized, by upholding the law and behaving responsibly, by providing information on crime and reporting all crimes as they happen.

It was through this cohesive approach during the last festive season that significant successes were yielded. More than 700 000 operations were conducted in which 83 479 persons were arrested. These operations also helped to rid our communities of over illegal firearms and ammunition. What was even more encouraging was that we were able to reduce crimes significantly,

We will also ensure that there will be heightened police visibility in areas where large numbers of our communities gather during the holidays such as shopping centres and malls, the beaches and other tourist destinations.