16 December 2021
Thank you members of the media for joining us this morning, on the Day of Reconciliation. A few years ago the democratic government renamed this day to foster reconciliation and social cohesion in a country that was once segregated along racial lines under the then apartheid system.
The draconian laws of the erstwhile apartheid regime were hell-bent on perpetuating racial divisions and entrenching the systematic oppression of the majority of the people of this beautiful country.
As we observe this nation-building day today, we should reflect on the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa of 1996, which among other things upholds a democratic, non-racial, non-sexist, united and prosperous society based on justice, equality, the rule of law and the inalienable human rights of all.
The JCPS Cluster remains resolute in its concerted efforts to ensure a safe and secure country where all people mutually coexist peacefully regardless of race, colour, creed or sexual orientation.
The cluster continues to collaborate with all sectors of our society to ensure the realisation of this vision.
General safety of all people in South Africa
The JCPS Cluster is entrusted with the responsibility of ensuring the safety of all people in South Africa. Our mandate requires us to create a peaceful and conducive environment for the public. All our crime-fighting interventions to ensure the safety and security of all people are done within the confines of the laws of this country.
By working closely with community structures such as community policing forums, civil-society organisations, traditional leaders and faith-based organisations, we continue to create the interface between ourselves and communities.
These structures continue to strengthen our crime-prevention measures within communities. Our criminal justice system continues to work hard in ensuring that those who violate the laws of the land are made to account and face the full might of the law.
Safer festive holidays
December is normally characterised by many people travelling to various holiday destinations across the country and this contributes to high traffic volumes on our roads which unfortunately result in the loss of lives from the vehicles crashes.
During this time of the year, the safety of all road users, including pedestrians, becomes our biggest concern. Road traffic officers and other members of law-enforcement agencies will be out in full force to ensure compliance with the law and also facilitate the smooth flow of traffic on our roads.
We appeal to all motorists to drive safely and courteously to ensure the safety of other road users, including pedestrians on our roads. Obey all rules of the road by, amongst other things, maintaining the legal speed limit, and refraining from drinking and driving or texting while driving. Road safety is everyone’s business and together we can make our roads safer.
Take regular breaks to avoid driver fatigue and ensure that your vehicles are roadworthy before you undertake long trips. Let us all ensure that we Arrive Alive.
Safety of children, and gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF)
During such a period of merriment, police are often inundated with cases of missing children, especially at coastal beaches. We urge parents not to leave children unattended near swimming pools or beaches. Avoid tragedies by being vigilant when at pools, beaches or near water and ensure that children wear the necessary safety equipment when using swimming pools or beaches. All law-enforcement agencies, especially our police officers, will be on high alert to respond swiftly to incidents of GBVF. We appeal to the men of our nation to take a stand and play their part in ending the scourge of violence against women and children. Report all perpetrators of GBVF to the police without delay.
Ports of entry
The Department of Home Affairs will share information on the operating hours at our ports of entry, which have been extended by two hours to ensure proper services during this busy period. Working with law-enforcement agencies, the department will be on high alert for any illegal activities at our ports of entry, including preventing the potential influx of undocumented foreign nationals and smuggling of stolen goods.
Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)
The festive season this year comes at a time when South Africa is experiencing the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 infections are growing daily following the discovery of the Omicron variant, which is considered more contagious than the previous variants. Keep yourselves and your loved ones safe this festive season by ensuring that all your family members over the age of 12 get the COVID-19 jab, which is available for free at any of the vaccination sites across the country.
Vaccines remain our best defense against COVID-19 by reducing the risk of serious illness, hospitalisation or even death. Statistics have shown that most of the people infected with the virus who are admitted to hospitals are unvaccinated.
Ensure that you get your jab before you socialise, visit relatives or go on vacation this December. While COVID-19 vaccines still remain effective in protecting us from developing a severe illness, non-pharmaceutical protective measures remain important, such as wearing a mask that covers the mouth and nose, maintaining social distancing and regularly washing our hands with water and soap or using a 70% alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
Citizens are advised to avoid large gatherings such as festivals or parties, and only gather in small groups in well ventilated areas.
As we conclude, the cluster wishes to also note the recent ruling by the North Gauteng High Court nullifying and setting aside the decision of the National Commissioner on granting medical parole to former President Jacob Zuma.
We have noted the Department of Correctional Services decision to appeal the judgment. As the cluster, we wish to reiterate our confidence in our constitutional democracy that provides that all people are equal before the law. The separation of powers and the independence of the Judiciary are the bedrock of our Constitution, and our courts function without fear or favour as they entrench the rule of law. Any form of recourse must follow appropriate channels within the confines of the law.
As mentioned before, the police and other law-enforcement agencies will be out in full force this festive season to ensure the safety and security of everyone. As the JCPS Cluster, we remain committed to upholding the laws of the country.
Therefore, we would like to assure the nation that working with communities, we will ensure the safety of the public during this festive period.
Lastly, let us vaccinate, wear our masks and avoid big gatherings during this festive period.
I thank you.