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President Cyril Ramaphosa spoke to 1,400 newly trained police officers on Thursday. He told them they will help strengthen efforts to reduce South Africa’s serious crime problem.
The officers graduated this week after intense preparation. They will now be deployed to stations countrywide and to units dealing with violence against women and children. Their first role is to keep people safe over the holidays.
President Ramaphosa thanked them for choosing the difficult but noble career of policing. He said South Africa is “under siege” from criminals destroying lives through violence and fear. Crime also badly hurts the economy.
“We are tired of criminals operating with impunity,” the President stated. He called the new recruits “part of a new front in the fight against crime.”
In February, Ramaphosa announced that 10,000 new officers would be trained this year, adding to 10,000 last year. They aim to increase police visibility and make arrests.
Recently, 250,000 arrests were made countrywide in anti-crime operations. Over 3,200 firearms were seized and 1,700 stolen vehicles were recovered too. Progress has been made in tackling cash van robberies, drug smuggling, illegal mining and critical infrastructure damage.
But the police cannot work alone. The President said officers are the “first responders” and frontline in communities. Combined with prosecutors and the justice system, the new recruits will now try to turn the tide against South Africa’s crime wave.