New police boss talks tough
Johannesburg - Newly-appointed acting national police chief, Lieutenant General Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi, had tough words for criminals on Thursday.
"We will meet fire with fire. If that is not clear to anyone, I challenge you to commit crime," he told reporters in Pretoria.
"I want to take this opportunity to warn the criminals out there that they will not enjoy the Diwali, Christmas, New Year or even Easter in this country."
Mkhwanazi said the police would continue to carry out their duties with excellence in the fight against crime.
"President Jacob Zuma has entrusted myself and the top management with the responsibility to lead the over 200 000 members of the organisation," he said.
"My job is to steer the ship to the direction that has been set."
Mkhwanazi said he understood what police officers expected from their leadership and would not disappoint them.
"I've been a an operational member all my life. As management we would like to assure members of the SA Police Service that the fight against crime will not be compromised."
He said he was not worried about how long he would be in the top police job, as former police chief Bheki Cele had not been fired.
"Even if General Cele were to come back, he will find things functioning. When we divert at some point on the route, it does not mean we have forgotten the destination."
Zuma announced the suspension of Cele on Monday pending the outcome of a high profile investigation into what was said to unlawful police lease agreements.
Mkhwanazi said he was asked to take over in an acting capacity "only a few minutes" before Zuma announced this to the media.
"It was an instruction, not a discussion. I don't know the reasons for my appointment. I am a police officer - commanders get appointed, they do not campaign for posts."
Mkhwanazi said he hoped to bring some improvements.
"I want to add more fuel to police service. I want to increase the speed on what was being done in the police".
Mkhwanazi holds a national diploma and a BA degree in policing.