SPEECH BY DEPUTY PRESIDENT CYRIL RAMAPHOSA ON THE SOUTH AFRICAN POLICE SERVICE COMMEMORATION DAY

DEPUTY PRESIDENT CYRIL RAMAPHOSA

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Minister of Police, Fikile Mbalula, 

Deputy Minister of Police, Bongani Mkongi,

Acting National Commissioner of the SAPS, Lt Gen Lesetja Mothiba,

Management and members of the South African Police Service,

Families of our deceased police officers,

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and gentlemen,

 

Today, we salute all the brave men and women who have lost their lives serving the nation and its people.  

Their courage, service and spirit inspire us.  

Being a member of the South African Police Service is not merely a job, it is a vocation – a calling that only a few will understand or truly appreciate. 

Today we pay tribute to the bravery of members of the SAPS, particularly these 40 officers who paid the ultimate price for their determination to keep South Africa safe. 

Many than any other, they held fast to the creed: To serve and protect the people of South Africa. 

On this day, as we remember those brave men and women, as we salute them, we think with great anguish of the great loss suffered by those who were near to them. 

We can only imagine the agony of recollecting that morning, that day or that night when loved ones left home to serve and protect, never to return.

We can only imagine the heart wrenching pain of those left behind without a husband, wife, mother, father, brother, sister and a favourite uncle or aunt. 

We feel especially for the children who wish for one more lullaby; that they could catch their fall one more time, that they would stand watch over them one more night.  

Nothing can ever take away the pain of losing a loved one.  

And yet, amid their despair, there is a firm determination that the lives lost should not be dishonoured. 

We see the child who says they are going to make their father proud, who strive to do well at school and in life.  

We see the widows and widowers who have determined to be both mother and father to their children.

We see grandmothers, brothers and sisters who have made it their commitment to raise, with love and care, the children orphaned by the brutality of crime.

 We see you, we hear you, we care and we thank you.

We can only show gratitude for the ultimate price your families have paid to keep ours safe. 

We are thankful for the strange mercy that by you losing your loved one, we can continue with the gift of life. 

Yours is the greatest love of all, to ask not what your country can do for you but to give everything and life for your country. 

Not for a moment do we take for granted your loss and pain. 

We may not always be there when the curtains are drawn, when darkness falls and you are left alone to face your loss. 

In those moments you may feel forsaken, angry and frustrated but we know too that the day will come when you find some healing. 

You will find solace in beautiful memories. 

And, in those moments, you will find their ever presence in your lives. 

When you walk up to receive your first degree, they will cheer you on and when you serve others as they did, you will feel their pat on your back. 

People pass on but their souls never leave.

You will bring them to life by continuing your own journey in a manner that celebrates theirs. 

You will bring them to life by living fully and not with unending sorrow. 

You will bring them to life by honouring those men and women in blue who still go out to serve at risk of life and limb. 

When they protect others, you will say: “That is what my father would have done.” 

When they bring criminals to justice, you will say: “My mother too was a great woman, who fought for others.” 

And so today is not only about loss, memory and sacrifice.  

It is also about legacy.  

It is about making sure that your loved ones did not die in vain. 

It is about making sure that we realise their dreams to rid our country of crime and banditry.

It is about ensuring that no other child is left orphaned by criminals. 

It is about acknowledging that one life lost is one too many and to fully appreciate that we have to equip, train and allow our members to defend themselves. 

Today is about calling for communities to cooperate and work with police to rid our communities of crime. 

It is about reminding communities to respect and protect the lives of our police officers.  

It is about returning police to their status as dignified and honourable members of society.

Allow me to conclude by saying to those men and women in blue who still hold the badge: 

Your fallen colleagues, trusted you with their lives as you trusted them. 

They have now passed the baton on to you. 

You need to take over where they left off and ensure that we bring the perpetrators of crime to book and ensure a safe and secure South Africa for all. 

In their memory, in their honour, take your place, stake your claim and win the fight against crime. 

Take back our streets and communities and rid them of crime.  

Bring criminals to justice and ensure that no person is beyond the long arm of the law. 

Carry your responsibility with sincerity and integrity.  

Become a police service of professionalism, honesty, accountability and effective working relations with communities.  

To the families, your loss is greater than ours.  

May you find solace in knowing your loved ones died heroes in a worthy and noble cause. 

May their names, their deeds and their sacrifices never be forgotten.  

Thank you.

 

ISSUED BY THE PRESIDENCY

 

 03 SEPTEMBER 2017