Pretoria - A merry atmosphere engulfed the South African Police Service's (SAPS) Pretoria training academy on Wednesday as 45 children of police officers who died in the line of duty were treated to goodies and games at a family day Christmas party.
Deputy SAPS national commissioner Lieutenant-General Bonang Mgwenya said while many families were looking forward to spending "quality time", the police service was remembering its members who perished, particularly in the 2017/2018 and the 2018/2019 financial year.
"This country needs young role models who will reflect a positive image of South African citizens, and who will improve the general morale of our youth and society," said Mngwenya during her address to families of deceased police officers.
"We are therefore extremely grateful for your presence here today and for this opportunity, to interact with you in a more informal and relaxed manner.
"I know that you have suffered a great deal as a result of the loss of your father or mother but I want to assure you that we are here as your police family, to support you in as many ways as we can.
"We know that you miss them very much and in our organisation we also miss them. They will, however, be fondly remembered through you as their children."
Mngwenya invited the children to enjoy the day, knowing that they have the "unconditional support" of the police.
The children obliged and enjoyed meals, games and face paintings.
Families also received vouchers and Christmas gifts from the SAPS and its sponsors.
"You too are part of this family in blue and we are proud to call you our own. Precious children, as you probably know, the SAPS is a huge organisation. In our organisation, there are numerous career paths that we would like to see you playing a role in," said Mngwenya.
"We trust that you will study hard and choose the SAPS as your employer. Through our SAPS Education Trust, we also aim at providing support to the children of police members who died while carrying out their duties by financing the educational needs."
Regarding the crime combating operations for the festive season, Mngwenya the police have already gone all out to ensure the safety of all people across South Africa.
"This time of the year awakens joy in us because it is when we spend quality time with our loved ones. During this festive season, the SAPS plays a critical role in ensuring that those fond memories are made in a safe environment," assured Mngwenya.
She said the police annual safer festive season operations, under the theme "Quiet Storm" was launched at the beginning of November and was aimed at making South Africa a safe place before, during and after the festive season.
"Moving forward, we will be observing the #SafetyFriday which will take place in the form of focused operations countrywide," said Mngwenya.
"The safer festive season campaign will focus on combating aggravated robberies, crimes against women and children, the enhancement of border security, enforcement of the Liquor and Second-hand Goods Act, enforcement of by-laws and road safety as well as activities to combat the proliferation of illegal firearms."
African News Agency/ANA