East London – Eastern Cape police will be learning how to speak Mandarin from Tuesday in an efforts to bridge the communication divide experienced when policing Chinese communities.
Speaking at the launch of the initiative in East London on Tuesday, provincial coordinator of skills development, Colonel Thembisile Gweyi, said the initiative followed from an agreement signed between Minister of Police Nkosinathi Nhleko and his counterpart for the Chinese police force last year.
Gweyi said the project was being rolled out nationally, with KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape having already begun training, while the first Eastern Cape police officers would attend their first class on Tuesday.
“Our first training will see 40 police officers, sourced from the sector policing units of 20 police stations across the Eastern Cape, trained to speak Chinese,” he said.
Gweyi said the project would be rolled out in two phases, with the first phase focusing on 10 police stations from East London and the former Transkei area.
The second phase would then focus on a further 10 stations from Nelson Mandela Bay and surrounds.
“Looking at population density, we identified that there are more Chinese living in the East London area, which is why we have decided to roll out the project here first,” he said.
Gweyi said the courses would run from now until October 20, with the officers receiving training once a week, on a Tuesday, by a qualified bilingual member of the local Chinese community.