SAPS hands over a new house in Pienaar

Mbombela: As part of its National Police Day and Excellence Awards celebrations, the South African Police Service (SAPS) handed over a three-bedroom house in Pienaar, just outside Nelspruit, to three underage children who have suffered terrible effects of crime.

Although the children are currently in protective custody and could not be present at the handover of the house, their grandmother gladly appreciated the gesture. The grandmother, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the children, thanked the SAPS for not only being interested in putting criminals behind bars but also in the lives of those who have been affected by crime. National Commissioner General Khehla Sitole explained that the gesture is part of the SAPS' multi-disciplinary approach of fight the scourge of crime.

We realised that due to the crime that took place and how the children are affected, the family structure of the children was broken. The children were going to be left homeless and might eventually become part of the people who commit crime, he said.

As an organisation, we are community-centred and we endeavour to connect with communities in ways that matter the most. It is important for us to save the future of the children because by so doing, we also save the future of South Africa. One day the children might be leaders of this country, said General Sitole. He added that the gesture is part of social crime prevention which is aligned with the SAPS' youth crime prevention strategy.

Police Minister Bheki Cele said it was important for the children to stay in school and having the children have a place they can return to after the case is finalised, is important. The case is currently before the courts. The accused person in the case is currently out on bail. Minister Cele said he is greatly pained because due to the accused being out on bail, this now means the three children have to be in protective custody where their movements are limited for their own safety.

The Deputy National Commissioner for Human Resources in the SAPS, Lieutenant General Bonang Mgwenya explained during the handover process that the gesture is part of SAPS' social responsibility. Each year in a province that we host the National Police Day, we identify a needy family and assist in any way that we can, she said. General Sitole elaborated that by ensuring the children are well taken care of, their focus will be on their studies.

Minister Cele added that he, together with General Sitole and Mpumalanga Provincial Commissioner, General Mondli Zuma, will each of them adopt the children by providing them with basic necessities including catering for their academic needs until they complete their grade 12 and go to institutions of higher learning. The children will be released to the care of their grandparents once they are out of protective custody.

Source: South African Police Service