3 August 2006
Safety and Security Minister Charles Nqakula, speaking to journalists in Pretoria on Tuesday, called on “all law-abiding citizens” in South Africa to join in the fight against crime.
The minister’s appeal comes as the government moves to strengthen policing at station level throughout the country, and through this to draw in stronger community support for combating crime.
Delivering the Department of Safety and Security’s budget vote to Parliament in June, Nqakula said policing in South Africa was being restructured in order to place more resources at local police station level.
The previous four-level structure of policing is being reshaped into three levels – national, provincial and local – with the dissolution of the “area level” of policing and the shift of these resources to the frontline of crime.
Area-level policemen and women are to be redeployed to local stations, and experienced detectives are to be promoted in a way that keeps them doing functional police work rather than shifting them into administrative and managerial positions.
Specialised crime-fighting functions are also to be redeployed to station level “to ensure that crimes are investigated where they occur”, the minister told Parliament.
Thirteen new police stations were built in 2005/06 and 25 new ones would be built in 2006/07, the minister said, while an additional 1 000 trained detectives would be added to the police service this year.
The “station empowerment strategy” will enter its first phase in the last quarter of this year as the local police station becomes the “crucible” of the country’s fight against crime, Nqakula said.
Deputy Justice Minister Johnny de Lange also appealed to the public on Tuesday to report instances of perceived police failures to the various government or other authorities such as the Public Protector, saying that no civil servant in South Africa had “the right not to provide a service”.
If people felt that they were not being assisted by police members, De Lange said, they should lodge a complaint with the authorities, who were obliged to take action.