The Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department’s hand was further strengthened when a total of 30 recruits officially entered the crime-fighting and bylaw enforcement fray after successfully completing a gruelling, mandatory training programme prescribed by the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RMTC).
The newly qualified metro officers were officially introduced to the city at a passing-out parade in Booysens, Johannesburg, on Friday.
Also graduating were nine students from the Randfontein Municipality (eight) and Westonaria Municipality (one), who had successfully completed a 12-month traffic officers’ course.
All the 30 JMPD students underwent an intensive 18-month metro officers’ course, which in the main covered theoretical and physical competencies.
The ceremony was attended by City of Johannesburg Member of the Mayoral Committee for Public Safety Councillor Sello Lemao, JMPD Chief of Police Zweli Nyanda, traffic chiefs from Randfontein and Westonaria, Section 79 public safety portfolio committee representatives, councillors and friends and relatives of the officers.
In his address, MMC Lemao told the graduates that their chosen profession was not only one of “significant power” but also of “greater responsibility”.
He said to transform the JMPD and create an increased sense of safety and security in law enforcement, the City made several changes to officer training. This included adopting a training method that combined knowledge, skills and attitude with the awareness of the social needs of the communities they served.
The extension of training from just three months to 12 months for a traffic officer and 18 months for a metro officer was another aspect that boosted the ability of the officers to carry out their tasks effectively and efficiently.
The 12-month traffic officers’ course provides graduates with a Further Education and Training (FET) Certificate in Traffic Law Enforcement. The additional six months training provides graduates with a qualification under the South African Police Service‘s Law Enforcement Skills Programme.
“As ambassadors of our now more community-orientated Public Safety, your role will become increasingly critical in the areas of community development, youth involvement in a variety of social endeavours, protection of vulnerable groups, education, and promotion of social cohesion.
“The old, military-style and rigid approach to enforcement must give way to a police force that is in touch with the needs of those they serve. The new approach is professional, friendly and participative in all collective efforts on the grounds that conspire against crime, lawlessness and non-compliance,” said Cllr Lemao.
The graduates barely moved throughout the ceremony, staring straight ahead.
Before reciting the Recognition of Oath, the officers were reminded that their jobs were of high value, integrity and honour. Officers who excelled in various disciplines were honoured during the ceremony.
Officer J Mangani was named the Overall Best Student after winning both the Best Student in the National Traffic Act award and the Best Student in Legal Subjects accolade.
Others were S Ndugazi (Best Student in AARTO Act), AT Namakhula (Best Student in the National Land Transport Act), L Maimela (Best Student at Shooting/Best Shot) and N Lumka (Best Student in the SAPS Skills Programme).
Cllr Lemao also said there was a need for the department to improve morale.
Several positions were advertised and acting ones were made in a continuation of “efforts to bolster our capacity in the areas of supervision, command and control as well as monitoring and evaluation”.
Newly confirmed senior officials were announced by Chief Nyanda and Hlula Msimang, Head of Public Safety in the City Manager’s Office.
Promotional ranks were conferred on Director Maxwell Khanyile (Specialised Services), Director Sam Sethagu (Bylaw Management Unit) and Director Phumelelo Maphumulo (Internal Affairs).
The following officers were promoted to positions of Regional Commanders/Deputy Directors in Operations: Enock Sibiya, Pule Mogwane, Nomaswazi F Lengwati, Amon Kganyago, Patrick Jaca, Tshepo Chocho, Richard Witte, Michael Smith and Pule Mongwane.