Police Minister Bheki Cele has warned criminals that police action will continue to be tough and that they must retreat or regret it.
The Minister said South Africans will not share space with criminals and called on the police to put fear in the hearts of criminals.
“I am sending the message that we are not here to share space with criminals. This space is too small and cannot be shared. It belongs to the people of South Africa. It belongs to the women and children of South Africa that cannot be terrorised, assaulted and have fear of walking on the streets,” Minister Cele said on Friday.
If criminals decide to engage in war with the police, the Minister assured that there will be one side that survives, and that can only be the police.
“If criminals think they can terrorise us and do as they wish, we are declaring that there will be serious reversal… We will fight with all the power we have in order to protect the people of South Africa.”
The General warned criminals to desist from cash heists, mall and home robberies or assaulting and abusing women and children.
He said his enemies were those who abuse women and children, farm murderers and poaching syndicates.
Despite the warnings, the Minister reassured that police are not at war with the community, but whoever declares war on us “uzoyithola impi”.
“Whoever declares war on us, on innocent communities, women and children, the elderly – uzoyithola impi [they will get war]. You want war, you will get war. You want peace, you will get peace.”
The Minister was welcomed into the Ministry on Friday with a special parade from all arms of the South African Police Service (SAPS).
“Thanks for welcoming me but I am also welcoming myself home,” Cele said, who once served as National Police Commissioner.
Police warned to treat victims with care
Minister Cele went on to issue a stern warning to police officers who intimidate and insult victims of crime, as well as those who tarnish the name of the police. He said the police’s task is to regain public confidence so communities feel safe and are safe.
“The time has come for criminals to understand the fearless police language and begin to seriously respect the dignified blue.
“We are sending you to go out to the people of this country and say to them ‘don’t be scared’. We’re here for you. SAPS members are there to serve and protect the most vulnerable members of our society,” he said, adding that police officers will be out in full force on the streets fighting crime.
National Police Commissioner General Khela Sitole welcomed Minister Cele, saying they are honoured to serve under his leadership.
“Today starts a new chapter in the history of the SAPS… The morale of the SAPS has been boosted by the appointment of Minister Cele, as we are familiar with the energy with which he executes his tasks and his passion for policing.”
The General went on to announce his succession plan, wherein National Deputy Commissioners will be rotated to give a wider understanding of how the organisation works.
This article was originally published on SANews.gov.za.