Police minister Fikile Mbalula says he will be signing off on numerous policies to enhance the effectiveness of the police service.
Detailing his plan for his term in office on Tuesday, minister Mbalula said the process is at an advanced stage and would see the signing of several policies related to sexual crimes, detectives and the use of force by police, among others.
The Minister said a policy on the investigation and management of serial rape and serial murder has been developed to help deal with the high number of serial rape and serial murder cases in South Africa.
Serial murder and serial rape in South Africa are among the highest in the world.
Currently, most rape and murder series are identified by deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) linkages, rather than modus operandi.
“We will ensure proper coordination and collaboration by all existing structures, such as the DNA Database, the Serial DNA Team, the Investigative Psychology Section and trained investigators to ensure that these serial rape and murder cases are identified early and properly investigated by qualified investigators in a consistent manner,” Mbalula said.
Use of force policy
The “use of force policy” has been developed and needs signing. The policy provides all members of the South African Police Service (SAPS) with clear and consistent guidelines regarding the use of force while engaged in the discharge of their official duties.
Mbalula said police will use force within the prescripts of the law to defend the innocent.
The Ministry will also undertake roadshows and visits to community police stations to educate the public about reporting sexual offences and domestic violence.
This is line with the new policy on removing barriers to reporting sexual offences and domestic violence.
Research shows that sexual offences and domestic violence are underreported crimes due to barriers that do not support victims of these crimes.
Some of the reasons provided for underreporting include victim perceptions of being badly treated by SAPS members and other officials working in the criminal justice system and the belief that nothing will come of reporting to the police.
The minister said the new policy aims to address just that.
Improved criminal investigations
Another policy in the pipeline is to improve the quality and functioning of the SAPS detective service.
National Integrated Anti-Gang Strategy
The minister’s term will also see the implementation of the National Integrated Anti-Gang Strategy, which was adopted by Cabinet.
The strategy provides for interventions targeted at socio-economic issues surrounding gangsterism and its root causes, addressed in a multi-agency fashion, incorporating government departments, in partnership with civil society and communities.
Other bills to be tabled in Parliament
Several bills will also be tabled in Parliament. These include the Critical Infrastructure Protection Bill, which seeks to repeal the National Key Points Act that deals with the protection of National Key Points, and the Animal Movement and Animal Products Bill to repeal the Stock Theft Act.
Others include the Firearms Control Act, which provides the legal framework for the registration and control of firearms and the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) Act, which will provide the statutory authority of IPID to investigate acts of criminality and corruption committed by members of SAPS and the municipal police services.
Other priorities include the demilitarisation of the SAPS to ensure that people are and feel safe, the transformation of the police into a community-centric and responsible service, the visibility of police and the use of technology in reporting crimes.