Pretoria - President Cyril Ramaphosa welcomed nearly 10 000 new police recruits who joined the police service as constables after a much anticipated pass-out parade at the Tshwane police academy in Pretoria West.
Traffic mounted in and outside the academy as thousands of families, friends and colleagues of the new recruits travelled to witness the young men and women who have taken the oath to serve and protect the people of South Africa.
The new recruits could be seen as a response to Ramaphosa's call during the State of the Nation Address in February to bolster the capacity of the police, which led to the training and recruitment of new police personnel to strengthen police capacity and enhance police visibility in general.
Opening for the president, Minister of Police Bheki Cele said this was the first time the police recruited more than 5 000 new officers with one intake when they called-up 10 000 new recruits to take up positions on the service.
Ultimately, 9831 young men and women presented themselves to various police academies across the country. With some pass-out parades taking place across the country, Ramaphosa officiated the parade of 2 939 newly trained constables in Pretoria West; with 847 in Bisho, and 343 in Graaff Reinet.
The Constables on parade were trained at the academies in Gauteng Province, which are Tshwane, Atteridgeville, Benoni, Hammanskraal, and Moloto.
Additionally, tomorrow, a total of 3 695 will be passing out with 2 942 at the SA National Defence Force Military Base in Kimberley, 440 at Oudtshoorn, 140 and 173 at Ulundi and Chatsworth respectively. The final parade will take place on Thursday the in Paarl, where a total of 1 428 new constables will be standing on parade.
Ramaphosa, looking at the new recruits before taking an inspection walk around them, while the audience cheered him on, called the pass-out parade a culmination of a long and demanding training programme.
"Congratulations to you and to your other colleagues who will be holding the passing out parades at different training centres across the country this week. This is a job that demands commitment beyond the call of duty.
"It is a role that will test your resolve in fighting crime, upholding the law and making South Africa a safe and peaceful country. Safety and security affects so many other areas of life.
"Safety and security is necessary for economic growth and social development, for better education and health outcomes, and for social cohesion.
"When crime is high, small businesses cannot thrive because they have to spend more resources on security, and it is difficult to persuade companies to invest here. Crime affects the safety, well-being and cohesion of our communities. It affects the delivery of services and the functioning of public institutions," he said to the group.
Ramaphosa said this would be an addition to the 495 constables who successfully completed the shorter six months programme in September. The recruitment strategy saw qualified forensic scientists, criminologists and policing science experts joining the service.
He said during the State of the Nation Address, he said that the staffing of the SAPS Public Order Policing Unit will be brought to required levels, with appropriate training courses in place. In this regard, 4 000 recruits will be deployed to the Public Order Policing Unit.
Some of the newly-qualified constables will be deployed to other specialised units within the police. These include the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences unites to bolster our capacity to fight the scourge of gender-based violence and femicide.
Cele said: "They will be adding more boots on the ground to safeguard South Africa.
These men and women in blue will also bolster our Safer Festive Season Operations that are currently under way, nationwide.
These new constables have successfully completed the longer and more intensive nine-months Basic Police Development Learning Programme."
Other constables will be deployed at front line service delivery points at crime-heavy police stations.