Wednesday, 12 September 2012
South Africa to employ people with disabilties in Police service
JOHANNESBURG, Sept. 11 (Xinhua) -- South Africa is putting in place plans to employ people with disabilities, especially as sign language interpreters, Minister of Police Nathi Mthethwa said on Tuesday.
Mthethwa said improvements around statement-taking at police stations, including utilization of sign language interpreters, are vital in securing harsher convictions of criminals.
"Almost on a daily basis, police arrest suspects but we now need to move towards securing harsher convictions. Part of this goal includes prioritizing the employment of people with disabilities including sign language interpreters," he said in a statement.
Prior to 2009, the South African Police Service (SAPS) embarked on a drive which included advertising a post at national level but was unable to fill it due to poor response to the recruitment drive.
The minister said various SAPS divisions including Language Section, Corporate Communication, together with Disability Management of the Employee Health Wellness, are now in the process of developing a strategy to ensure that people with hearing disabilities are able to access SAPS' services.
"We need to have police stations which employ sign language interpreters to assist hearing impaired citizens not only as part of addressing the disability impurities, but to ensure that all members of society are catered for," Mthethwa said.
The SAPS has not appointed permanent sign language interpreters instead has utilized external-registered sign language interpreters, when the need arises to have sign language interpreters at police stations.
"We need to ensure that going forward and as part of our transformational process, we address this matter," said the minister.
He said while the causes of crime are complex and diverse, it is acknowledged that there are a host of factors which impact on crime. What becomes crucial however is that when victims of crime report such crimes, they must not be compromised through wrong interpretation and badly-written statements as well as misunderstanding of their experiences as crime victims, he said.
"Therefore, improved planning and coordination including accommodating people with disabilities is required to enhance the conditions of safety within communities," he said.
To addressing crime, the minister said Pretoria is advocating that police must continuously be trained. It is also strengthening of partnerships and cooperation among relevant organs of state at local, provincial and national spheres of government, including community stakeholders.
The minister said transformation within the police service must be aimed at changing the internal police environment and culture into a professional, representative, efficient and effective, transparent and accountable service.
"This should be a service which upholds and protect the fundamental rights of citizens and executes its mandate in accordance with the Constitution," he said.
He said while South Africa has been in some process towards demographic composition of the police, "there is still considerable work required, not only in building a representative service, but also in making sure transformation addresses the broader context of the developmental state, guiding policy framework and the principles contained in the Constitution." (Xinhua)