Law enforcement officers deployed to protect and safeguard the 15th BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) Summit have officially been commanded on their duties ahead of the summit due to take place in Sandton, Johannesburg this week.
Police Minister Bheki Cele and South African Police Service (SAPS) General Fannie Masemola addressed law enforcement officers through the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NATJOINTS) at Innes Free Park in Sandton on Monday.
The security forces parade comprised of officers from across various disciplines of the SAPS and supporting security agencies deployed to safeguard the event.
While Cele said he did not wish to repeat the directives instructed by President Cyril Ramaphosa in his national address on Sunday night, he said the presidential address was indicative of the high expectation and seriousness of the next few days in South Africa.
“We are not scared, we are absolutely not scared. Nobody should be scared. We are ready, we have been moving and walking this path for these past few days,” Cele told the officers.
“What is expected of you is to show that every person visiting and every citizen is safe. Approach situations and people here with friendly faces. You are not here just for security, you are ambassadors. You won’t irritate people, but work with people with a huge smile.
“All of you, you will work for one South Africa. I know there are many disciplines here, but you are all here with one objective,” he said.
Cele further encouraged the officers to make people feel comfortable, make their trip enjoyable and make them want to come back to South Africa.
“Behave in the maximum kind of discipline and protection,” he said.
Cele also referred to the recently released crime statistics, which he said still showed how women and children were the main victims of crime. He asked officers to always keep that in mind and be extra vigilant.
“You are instructed. This place from now on until the last day of BRICS, is home of the world. Make the world feel welcome, make the world comfortable. That is in your hands. When they see you they must see hope.
“You are commanded to go and do your best for the country, the world and yourself,” Cele said.
He added that while policing operations have been increased for the BRICS Summit, it would not end after the summit concluded.
He said the law enforcement agency has been operating at this high level for a while now, especially with the launch of Operation Shanela.
The summit which will be hosted at the Sandton Convention Centre from Tuesday, August 22, is expected to be attended by over 40 Heads of State, scores of government representatives, as well as local and international dignitaries and summit delegates.