Young officers told to defend freedom
“YOUR duty and responsibility, in whatever task you are assigned, is to defend freedom.”
This was the message from Police Minister Fikile Mbalula to 1 500 young police officers yesterday.
Mbalula was addressing young men and women at the SAPS’ First Youth Conference.
He told them that young people were the ones who should be responsible for change, be full of ideas and make mistakes to be corrected.
He said as young police officers they had to understand what freedom was and had to be grateful for the opportunity given to them.
Mbalula told them that during the apartheid days black people who trained at the college were seen as sell-outs.
He also spoke on abuse and said women should not be turned away when reporting it, and those guilty of it should be dealt with in a harsh manner.
“We must not chase women away, we are sick of men who abuse and we must unsettle criminals,” he said.
He told the young law enforcement officers that the police service was a big organisation and they had the honour of serving in it.
Acting national police commissioner Lieutenant- General Lesetja Mothiba said the young officers had to be assisted in finding their place in the organisation, and they needed to be groomed to help people in the community. He emphasised the love of one’s country and people.
“If you do not love your country, you do not love your people,” Mothiba said.
Brigadier Nikiwe Hoaeane, one of the speakers, urged the young officers to take their job seriously because they had taken an oath.
“This uniform is a calling, not a job,” said Hoaeane.
As police officers, they were the last hope for many people, who often went to police stations after other avenues had failed, she said.
She motivated them to study, pray, be physically fitness and socialise, and told them to bring back the dignityof the SAPS.
Young officer Captain Thembi Gwe, 35, said: “This is a great initiative by the SAPS for young people, this is a platform for us to be empowered to come up with strategic views to ensure we protect our country.
“When we joined, we said we are here to protect and serve,” she said.
Police Minister Fikile Mbalula