About 10,000 new police boots will be on the ground this week, just in time for the festive season.
The Minister of Police Bheki Cele made the announcement on Sunday afternoon, when he discussed the police’s action plan for the festive season.
The programme, called the Safer Festive Season Operational Plan, is characterized by seven focus areas, which include gender violence, combating serious and violent crime, stricter border control, and road safety.
Cele says it is all hands on deck to protect citizens and their properties.
”The holiday season is also a time where criminals sharpen and refine their operations, taking advantage of the festive mood. We too as the country’s law enforcement have and continue to upscale our responses to crime this holiday season and beyond.”
The 10,000 additional police officers form part of the 2023 ”Project 10K” police recruitment drive, which was in response to the call from President Cyril Ramaphosa to strengthen policing capacity and enhance police visibility.
The last group of the recruits will graduate from various police academies throughout the country in the coming week, before they are deployed from 15 December.
Cele says their deployment will be prioritised, especially in high crowd zones and areas of entertainment and leisure, this holiday season.
Cele also gave another update on Operation Shanela, which has seen numerous successes over the last several months.
Since its inception on 08 May 2023, high-density operations have resulted in the arrest of over 259 000 suspects for various crimes across the country.
This includes 64 171 arrests in the Western Cape, 48 917 arrests in Gauteng, and 37 769 arrests in Kwa-Zulu Natal.
Over 3 200 firearms including 2 500 handguns and 300 rifles have also been taken off the streets through Operation Shanela, and over 700 hijacked or stolen vehicles have been recovered.
Safer Festive Season Operations
The Safer Festive Season Operational Plan is characterized by several focus areas, namely;
• Combatting of serious and violent crime such as aggravated robberies
• Border security
• Strengthening by-laws
• Road safety, as well as illegal mining
Cele says police will root out criminality this festive season, wherever it may hide.
He says the Police Ministry as well as the SAPS management led by the National Commissioner will be embarking on the annual safer festive season inspection tour across all provinces.
”We will be joining thousands of our police officers on the ground at public spaces such as shopping malls, taxi ranks, beaches, parks and other public gathering areas and centers of activities and areas of entertainment. We also will be visiting roadblocks, ports of entry and targeted police operations to ensure that safety and security remains paramount during this busy festive period. This year’s tour will be anchored around high-density police operations in communities with high crime volumes.”
The Police Minister has called on all South Africans to be vigilant and responsible, and also to report any suspicious activities to law enforcement.