- Police Minister Bheki Cele launched a festive season readiness campaign in Bellville.
- He called on police to make criminals' lives miserable this festive season. He also asked them to enforce Covid-19 compliance.
- Cele said some 18 000 police officers had been infected, while over 270 members had died of Covid-19.
Police Minister Bheki Cele visited the Bellville taxi rank in Cape Town on Thursday morning, where he launched the festive season readiness campaign ahead of the holidays.
Cele spoke to the public, taxi drivers and informal traders at the commuter hub.
Cele addressed police officers during the launch.
"When the public sees us, they must run to us. When they see us, they must say 'thanks God, here are our redeemers'," he said.
Other top-of-the-list of priorities include curbing gender-based violence and creating a safe environment for women.
"Please be there for them. Please listen to their cries… For some reason, our women are under attack," Cele said.
The minister urged officers to enforce Covid-19 compliance while out on patrol as the country experiences a second wave of infections.
"More than 270 members have been killed and 18 000 infected. So take care of yourself as you take care of the community," he said.
Cele also asked that police make the lives of criminals miserable as they enforce the law over the festive season.
"Where is your mask? If we see you without a mask, we will lock you up from 15 December to 15 January," he quipped as he meandered through the crowd.
Crowds followed the minister as he made his way through the taxi rank and bus terminus.
Shannon September told News24 she was happy to see the minister.
"I am very proud of him for coming here. Now he can see what is going on here," she said.
September, who lives in Bellville, said she hopes that police can be more vigilant and active during the festive season.
Phatheka Zwakala was excited when Cele stopped to have a chat with her.
"I don't know what to say, I am glad that there are so many police officers around. There is always chaos here in this place," she said.
The Bellville taxi rank has been closed several times this year due to incidents of alleged taxi violence.
Zwakala said her talk with the minister gave hope that the streets will be safer during the festive season.