‘We mean business’

2009-12-09 00:00

SOUTH Africa will not be run by criminals, National Police Commissioner Bheki Cele said yesterday at the launch of a KwaZulu-Natal festive season crime-fighting campaign.

“We can’t have a country where women are raped and robbed. That must come to an end. The country must not be run by thugs. We want to make our cities safe for the people,” said Cele, while repeating his call for police to take a hard stance on criminals.

“We mean business; these members are not trained to negotiate. We are not giving them rubber bullets. No warning shots for criminals,” said Cele of a highly trained technical response team trained to fight crime.

Cele will unveil the new “No Nonsense” response team today, in Durban, as part of the “new approach, new thinking and harsher punishment” policy declared by Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa. Security will be tight and criminals have been promised failure and jail, if not death, and communities have been guaranteed a safe and secure festive season.

Mthethwa and the Deputy Police Minister, Fikile Mbalula, were at the launch, which started in KwaMashu and Umlazi yesterday.

Cele took a train from Umlazi station, while Mthethwa and Mbalula took the train from KwaMashu to Durban station, before walking through the city talking to people on the streets.

“The operation will deal directly with the reduction in the number of missing children, cash-in-transits, armed robberies, house robberies … women and children abuse,” said Mthethwa.

“Today’s occasion confirms our promise of a government-led, action-orientated approach where we tackle criminals head-on, curb their plans and destroy their syndicates,” he said.

Mthethwa presented five brand-new BMW 3 series vehicles to KZN commissioner Mamunye Ngobeni. These high- perfor­mance vehicles will be used by the police in the province.

Cele introduced the Tactical Response Team (TRT) at the launch of the “Operation Duty Calls” festive season crime-fighting campaign in Durban yesterday.

The TRT will be formally presented at a passing-out parade tomorrow and Cele said the new team will be based in Durban.

The TRT is the first of its kind to be deployed in the country. In military-type uniforms and armed with R5 rifles, Cele said, the TRT will gradually spread across the country. “This is a ‘No Nonsense’ team; they have no instruction of a warning shot. If you hear a warning shot it means stay down and never try to run.”

Cele reiterated the government’s denial of the “shoot to kill” statement. “The statement we know is that police must use deadly force. We have never said they must shoot to kill. Nobody has a right or a second chance to shoot you,” he told the police.

Mthethwa said the police will focus on three major crimes in the province. “To address some of the trio of crimes, we will aggressively increase the number of police on patrol as key hot spots.

“Operations will focus on aggravated robberies, including house robberies, business, cash in transit, as well as vehicle hijackings.”

He said visibility patrols at all tourist destinations, especially in cities on the coast, will also be increased.

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