Cops face 'extra-special' thugs - Cele

2011-07-08 22:14

Johannesburg - South African police do not deal with "run-of-the-mill thugs", but professional, heavily armed operatives, national police commissioner General Bheki Cele said on Friday.

"What you are dealing with here are professional operatives who plan their operations with military precision and arm themselves with the most advanced weapons," Cele told a meeting on police killings in Boksburg.

Those carrying out cash heists were no ordinary criminals who "simply wake up one day and decide they are going out on a score".

Cele said police were not recruited to be slaughtered by paramilitary criminals.

"We don't want to do that. We do not recruit men and women to join the SAPS so they can be slaughtered.

"Extra-special thugs deserve the attention of extra-special police men and women.

"These extra-special thugs have earned our respect through years of shedding our blood like we are just another criminal gang battling it out for control of a particular street. We are not a gang," he said.

Cele was justifying the creation of special policing units. He said these types of criminals required more than police trained only to maintain peace among ordinary civilians.

The meeting on police killings heard that 48 police officers were killed since the start of 2011.

Protracted war

Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa said the police had a "protracted war" ahead of it, and the changing nature of crime has necessitated a smarter approach to policing.

"The prevalence of firearms and the readiness to use them, together with availability of military expertise amongst criminals, have changed the nature of crime in the country," Mthethwa said.

Threats faced by the country and the police often involved organised violent crime and gangs with various levels of military training.

"Their mode of operation is military, from planning, gathering of information to execution. This type of threat requires a suitable response.

"The police must everywhere maintain a capability to meet this threat," he said.

Mthethwa stressed, however, that the recent changing of police ranks did not constitute the "militarisation" of the police.

Cele said the SAPS were "mindful" of the strain placed on special police units in their day-to-day duties.

He asked the meeting of police bosses, researchers and civil society to advise the police on what to do to become a "solid and uncompromising last line of defence" in the battle against criminals.

"Since the beginning of this year, hardly a weekend goes by without us in the SAPS family not having to mourn yet another breach of our weak defences," he said.

Despite this police men and women continued the fight.

"... the SAPS do this everyday even though they know too well that by choosing to be everyday heroes and heroines, they run the risk of having their names added to the long list of their colleagues who lose their lives in the line of duty on a daily basis.

"This is the life of a policeman."

Direct threat

Mthethwa said the slaying of police was a "direct threat" to democracy in South Africa. Last year 93 policemen were killed and 101 in 2009..

From 2003 to 2011, the province which saw the most police killings was Gauteng with 201, followed by KwaZulu-Natal with 178, the Eastern Cape with 83, 68 in the Western Cape, 45 in Mpumalanga and 45 in the North West.

"We are saying enough now. One police life lost is one too many," Mthethwa said.

Police murders affected morale, traumatised colleagues and families and led to insecurity within the police, he said.

A 2003 report on police killings found that 20% of the incidents happened when police were responding to a crime, four percent were killed by colleagues, 2% in family disputes, 5% died in arguments with the public and 8% were killed when they were being robbed for their guns.

In May, two policemen - aged 39 and 23 - were killed on duty in Kraaifontein, Cape Town.

In the same month, two police officers were shot and killed in KwaZulu-Natal and another shot and injured.

On July 6 a police reservist was shot and killed in Soweto.

Mthethwa's office earlier this month denied losing a dossier on officers killed.

  • Brieuse - 2011-07-08 22:27

    well, that is what happens when nothing is done about crime. The criminals get better. Syndicates form. Then the cops lose.

      Yoni - 2011-07-08 23:22

      What The General is saying is that we have Special Needs Police...

      Warren - 2011-07-09 00:14

      We have these "extra-special thugs that have earned your respect" because of you & your self serving lazy chums, Mr. Bheki "Thug Life" Cele. P.S. A large portion of these "heavily armed thugs" were armed by... guess who???

      Luckybugger - 2011-07-09 00:52

      The cops are the extra special thugs

      Mr D - 2011-07-09 01:11

      The so called criminals are using AK-47 R-4 and R-5's. Where do you think are they getting these weapons? Remember they the ANC are in control of the Army and police and the free access the weapons storerooms. O! point number 2 Gen Cele the ANC had 250 tons of weapons inside South Africa with the takeover from De Klerk and as far as I can remember you the ANC never handed that weapons over to the authorities in 1994. U have seen nothing yet Gen Cele....

      Shadoz - 2011-07-09 10:41

      Dear Gen Cele at the end of the day we are the targets of your so called "extra speacil criminals" everyday we are murdered by these people and we are defenceless. Your police service is trained and paid to deal with these people. So they should do there job.. or quiet. We as the people are tierd of excuses so shape up of ship out.

  • M. Khoza - 2011-07-08 22:28

    Just implement sharia law and weather the thief is "run of the mill" or a professional - he wont get far without hands or a head

      Nongoloza - 2011-07-08 22:34

      We have enough problems with out the sharia law taking over here, women in south africa already have to live in fear of being raped let alone being oppressed by the sharia law.

      M. Khoza - 2011-07-08 22:43

      sad to see that you view sharia law according to what the media paints it to be. look deeper and you will find that sharia law in fact looks after the interests of woman far more than conventional laws

      Nongoloza - 2011-07-08 22:58

      you may be right, but often where there is smoke, there is fire.

      tryanything - 2011-07-09 00:51

      Just need to implement any laws and we are on our way

      OZNOB - 2011-07-09 06:50

      @nongoloza you fail to see that m.khoza was referring to sharia law for crime only not the other end of the spectrumfor how it applies to the whole of society . anyway i just prefer it if they just gave the criminals a 9 mm headache and the charge the families for the bullet

      Ozymandios - 2011-07-09 07:50

      But then we'll have a lot of police without hands or heads won't we?

      peter the gr - 2011-07-09 10:12

      Thats it KHOZA, the will do it only once. . . once to many times, then its good bye!!!!

      CyberDog - 2011-07-09 10:54

      yeah, where woman get fined for not painting their nails properly, or get thrown in jail for not dressing according to some dictators requirements. Oh, and the woman gets put to death for being raped as well, If she had not carried out the law correctly during the rape, which includes shouting loud enough for a neighbor to hear. She will then be considered dirty. So she then gets raped and then killed. Are you out of your mind, what rights do woman have under sharia law. You clearly have never been to any of the countries under sharia law.

  • thinker - 2011-07-08 22:36

    Dear General Cele, you have tryed just about every thing, from treatening the criminals, claiming victory, special units etc,etc. How about adopying the apartheid style policing, well trained, fit, uncorrupt and proud man and woman serving their country.

      morne - 2011-07-09 08:23

      that is the bottom line!

  • jock - 2011-07-08 22:39

    we all know you dont deal with run of the mill thugs that steal from us and mug us. It amazes me what comes out every time you open your mouth

      Frankly_Every1 - 2011-07-09 01:12

      Exactly, we are the ones that face these military trained thugs in our homes when they come to kill our children and rape our woman and slaughter our men. Without the security that General Cele has I'm sure. I can tell you from experience it is a terrifying experience and changed my life forever.

      uluz - 2011-07-09 07:07

      yep boksburg says .......the truth be told the cops sit on their backsides , and the public is left to deal with the thugs.... "an armed society is a polite society "

  • Yoni - 2011-07-08 22:42

    "The prevalence of firearms and the readiness to use them, together with availability of military expertise amongst criminals, have changed the nature of crime in the country," Mthethwa said. The prevalence of exactly which type of firearm? Are we talking shotguns, hunting rifles and handguns taken from civilians or perhaps assault rifles and 9mm pistols "lost" by police officials? What is meant by availability of military expertise? Former MK operatives or ex-SADF soldiers? Must be the former I suppose, but call it military experience not expertise. Why is government trying its best to disarm civilians with fixed addresses who own legal firearms? Are cash in transit robberies committed with .303's and 12 gauge shotguns? Now Cele wants special police units, will colour also play a role in selecting the members? Don't forget how the SAPS disbanded all the specialised units a few years ago, whilst Mbeki spelt the end for the commando units. One can only imagine why...

      Mr D - 2011-07-09 01:16

      Jip you are so correct it will come believe me it will

  • Stephan Janse van Vuuren - 2011-07-08 22:47

    "General", as a "General" you should be able to deal with this, no? No.

      morne - 2011-07-09 08:29

      ongelukkig is hy 'n 'n pseudo general - die sap kort een met vision en sonder 'n ego.

      Mr D - 2011-07-09 23:29

      Hy is n' voken GANSTER met sy hoedjie en al

  • Akesh - 2011-07-08 23:46

    The pot should never learn to call the kettle black - go figure !

  • John Paul - 2011-07-08 23:47

    Thugs face extra-dum cops!

  • Akesh - 2011-07-08 23:48

    The heading of this article somehow leads me to think of the saying that the pot cannot call the kettle black !

  • John Paul - 2011-07-08 23:52

    And what about your bribery and corruption? Bribery and Corruption cops must also go to jail!

      Warren - 2011-07-09 00:20

      Imagine that, Jackie & Bheki... cellmates for life.

  • windkind - 2011-07-09 00:45

    The cops themselves are extra special thugs.

      Shadoz - 2011-07-09 10:57

      it's not all the cops there are some really hard working people out there trying to make a differance.

  • Thats_that - 2011-07-09 00:54

    try not 'loosing so many militart and police weapns through severe incompetance. try tightrning up our boarders so that we at least have a clue who is in our country and where they live. try sorting out the corruption in Home Affairs. Its just like water, power, education, welfare and health. one there is rot, it cant be fixed, it has to be removed completely , top to bottom.

  • Frankly_Every1 - 2011-07-09 01:08

    The reason that they are highly trained is because alot of them were trained by the ANC to fight for "freedom". The government does nothing to change the "gangster" perception that the upcoming youth have. Alot of black people see you as "a man" if you have been in jail. Not a very positive way forward for a society. The government could be promoting education, tolerance, community togetherness through the media. They have the power. In fact they should be but they are not. The should be embracing talks with factions that are arming and training to protest against the government and finding peaceful resolutions because these groups too are training people uneducated, unlawful people to have expert military capabilities. Its destructive to the entire nation.

  • Jabulaniboy - 2011-07-09 02:47

    These "extra special thugs" include all white people who commit a minor offence, IE traffic, and is now harassed and arrested for no or very little reason.

  • Bloubul Jonck - 2011-07-09 04:22

    because the most of them are police and soldiers with all the necessary training

  • Boer - 2011-07-09 04:33

    What a dum statement police do not deal with run of the mill criminals. They just dont have it.

  • John D - 2011-07-09 05:17

    This is hardly a news flash, most people can see that the criminals have mostly gotten the better of the police for years now. They are poorly trained and in many instances ineffective although I concede that there are still some excellent members in the force doing a great job. I had occassion to report an incident a few years ago and had to write my own statement as the Inspector was illiterate, this in my mind was a disgrace and it is no wonder crime has reached the level it has. Something drastic has to be done soon to restore the confidence of the general public in our police force.

  • Roy - 2011-07-09 05:45

    Give us back our right to defend ourselves against people who have no respect for life.There was a reason why civilians were disarmed.The Police cannot protect even themselves that is why they hire Security Services.The ANC looks only after themselves and corrupt officials.BRING BACK THE DEATH PENALTY and so get rid of the lawlessness.

  • Walter - 2011-07-09 07:21

    So, the opportunist criminals can do as they please! Come on, get a life. We need a professional and not a politician to head the police force.

  • braamc - 2011-07-09 07:32

    Happens when you don't have a well trained force. The one is fatter, more corrupt and lazier than the other. What do you expect? Inefficient and useless. Let us start talking about what the civilians goes through in this country.

  • Mad Dog - 2011-07-09 07:37

    So Bloody What!??! All we need are some ordinary professional policemen and women who are PROPERLY TRAINED. Then they will sort the anc mess out, chop chop! Noddy would be an extra-special thug for the bunch of overweight, undertrained lot we call a police force!

  • Andrew - 2011-07-09 07:51

    Cele and Mthethwa should open their eyes these thugs exist elsewhere in the World. What they lack is the political will to do something about crime.

  • Roy - 2011-07-09 07:52

    What is Gun Free South Africa doing excepting for possibly earning big wages. They are partly to blame for the removal from citizens of their firearms. They should be sent into the areas where illegal guns are held and used and see what these people have to say.They blamed the legal firearm owners of not looking after their weapons but not one word was said against the SAPS or the Armed forces where hundreds of firearms are stolen or sold by their own to gangsters.

  • bbcronk - 2011-07-09 08:10


  • RobinHood - 2011-07-09 08:12

    'extra special thugs" - Is there any other kind?

  • apie - 2011-07-09 09:35

    These thugs were given free guns in 1990 to fight the 'struggle'. The anc has created the monster and they will have to deal with it.

  • JadedJay - 2011-07-09 09:38

    Just do your damn job and stop making excuses for your inadequacy and corruption. Cops all over the world face professional cops, in even worse conditions, and bring the crime rate down in their countries. Your cops are the thugs and you will do anything to protect them. LA, Columbia, Brazil, E.Europe, Russia, China and many more have same or worse to face and do a better job. YOu are a disgrace to the force in every possible way, you Australopithecus cretin. Why were you allowed to be birthed?

  • Hugh - 2011-07-09 09:39

    So you cannot fathom out how the porblem came about. How about the cause being goernment policy. 1] The systematic destruction of the police force from 1994 in the name of political expediency. 2] The employment of essentially corrupt cadre. 3] Employment without checking past history in the belief that a criminal prior to 1994 was not really a criminal. 4] The gratuitous involvement of police in all forms of crime that have been ignored or justice delayed. 5] The belief that the IDC is a waste of time. 6] The police's lack of response or at best shoody response to crime. All these thing have allowed crime to flourish. The criminal know that your lot are so inefficient that they can get away with it.

  • peter the gr - 2011-07-09 10:18

    if one looks around at the cops on the beat, the are all so fat, the cant even run, there asses are so heavy and wobbly, one can only smile. How the are going to catch this guys? After 10m the are finish, out of breath.....just about to collapse right there.......hahaha.

  • CyberDog - 2011-07-09 10:46

    Yeah.. and the more the crime is not dealt with, the worse it will get.

  • Beast - 2011-07-09 11:12

    Get rid of all the political, BEE and Equal Rights appointments in the Police, put real policemen in charge again and enforce the same laws for everyone and you will see a change

  • abel-konstabel - 2011-07-09 14:05

    It makes me angry to hear these things from our top brass and then still struggle to get a service pistol of my own to protect my life as well as those of my family. Practice what you preach.

  • chantal de pierres - 2011-07-09 19:20

    Yes so our police need extra special training and equipment!

  • Heinrich - 2011-07-10 16:48

    There's more farmers being killed than police, yet there's more police than farmers? Why is there no "war" on farm killings? They are more brutal than police murders.. BOTH should be treated with the same priority.

  • Clive - 2011-07-10 21:08

    It takes a thug to know a thug.

  • Kabelo - 2011-07-25 08:28

    The thing is that South Africa is not a military state. We cannot allow for criminal syndicates to dictate the way we organize ourselves. There must be meaningful action to invest in the police officers that we have through thorough training. Get rid of the overweight stragglers and actually have a formidable police force.

  • lucas.mguni - 2011-07-25 09:23

    police must learn to be friends of the community they save, am zimbabwean and like to live in a crime free envinment, how do l contribute to that cause

  • PunkBuster - 2011-07-25 12:24

    You are the extra special thug Bheki Cele...

  • Philip Darne - 2011-07-26 15:11

    You guys trained these bobejaana!!!probably all ex SANDF or SAP?????

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