'If they come with AK47s, we must outgun them' - Mbalula on criminals

2017-04-04 16:51
Police Minister Fikile Mbalula. (Nation Nyoka, News24)

Police Minister Fikile Mbalula. (Nation Nyoka, News24)

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Pretoria - Newly-appointed Police Minister Fikile Mbalula has warned gunmen who target officers that police will "outgun" them.

"We are tired of burying crime fighters. Anyone who kills a policeman will meet fire with fire [sic]. No policeman will die in vain.

"If they come with AK47s, we must outgun them! Meet fire with fire, you are not given those guns as toys, you are given those guns to use them, to protect the nation!" Mbalula said.

He was speaking on Tuesday morning at his welcoming parade in Pretoria.

Mbalula went on to say that maximum force should be used to show criminals that their actions would not be tolerated, but that this would be done within the legal restrictions imposed on members of the police force.

During a media briefing, Mbalula was asked to explain his statements, which some have perceived as reckless.

'Criminals are hard on society'

"Please don't ask me to be lenient to criminality and to criminals. Criminals are heavily armed, they bombard our people, they terrorise society... and we must respond accordingly in terms of the law and in the defence of the police," he said.

"We are not commanding the police to do something illegal in the context of fighting back. We are commanding them to basically do something within the prescript of the Constitution and to fight crime.

"When we are hard on criminals, [society] says we must not, and criminals are hard on society, and criminals are hard on the police."

He said there was a need to demilitarise society by addressing the problem of illegal guns.

"You can't ask me to tell police that with criminals who are fighting with AK47s, criminals who are fighting with R5s that police must actually be lenient and be smiling toward those criminals? Who is in jeopardy at the end of the day? It is the masses of our people, and the most vulnerable of our society, so we must respond accordingly," Mbalula said.

"Militarisation is equal to when the police act in a reckless manner in the conduct of execution of their duties, and that is not what we are asking them to do. We are saying to the police that it is time to respond properly to criminals and their actions," he said.

Community co-operation

Mbalula also spoke out about corrupt police officers.

He condemned the rotten potatoes within the police service.

"We will not win the struggle against crime on our own; we must work with honest and dedicated police men and women."

Mbalula said it was up to community members to identify rogue police so that they could be bought to book.

He also called on citizens to stop co-operating with criminals.

"We want policemen who are not going to be on the payroll of criminals. From top management of the police downward: If you are on the payroll of criminals, get out of there because when we get you; you will face the consequences," Mbalula warned.

He is due to go a national roadshow in all nine provinces to gain information on the challenges faced by SAPS members. He will also consult with sectors in the cluster.

Read more on:    police  |  fikile mbalula  |  crime

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