Pretoria – Guns on the streets of Soweto, Soshanguve, uMlazi, Sobantu, KwaZakhele, Gugulethu, Mitchells Plain and all other areas will be silenced with the resuscitation of the Tactical Response Team (TRT), says Police Minister Fikile Mbalula.
Speaking at the relaunch of the TRT and tracking units in Pretoria on Friday, Mbalula said the streets would no longer be a haven for criminals.
"Rapists, murderers, gangs, drug dealers, hijackers and others will from here on feel the change."
Mbalula said the decision to resuscitate the TRT was to ensure that there was an accurate and decisive response to medium to high-level crimes taking place across the country.
"The teams you see in front of you today will henceforth conduct high-value target operations, focusing on protecting our people and cleaning our environment of the callous murderers, rapists, drug dealers, hijackers and armed gangs."
"From Soweto to Hanover Park and back to Sunnyside here in Pretoria, we are coming and we shall not send you a further notice."
He said the TRT would deal with all medium to high-risk policing operations while the tracking teams would focus primarily on evasive, dangerous criminals including those who escaped prison or skipped bail.
Mbalula said he had deployed units across most of the provinces to address crimes specific to those regions.
'Ready and capable'
Three teams were established in the Western Cape to deal with the drug scourge and gang violence, while four teams were deployed to Gauteng.
Four teams were set up in the Eastern Cape, four in the North West and one team in Limpopo and Northern Cape, respectively.
KwaZulu-Natal received six units, the highest number of units, who were tasked with dealing with high-risk political killings.
"KwaZulu-Natal's political killings, if allowed to continue, would kill this democracy. I want that cleaned out with arrests made in days, weeks and months," Mbalula said.
"I want us to squeeze these killers-for-hire and those who commission them irrespective of their political stations and roles.
"These teams are ready and capable, they are well resourced, they will appear out of nowhere and deal with criminals."
He said if some of those criminals were found to be "rotten apples and potatoes" within the police service, this should not deter officers from serving and protecting the nation.
"The time is up. The response is going to be felt. We will track you down and not sleep until we find you.
"They [rogue officers] take our cars they take our uniforms, they hijack, they do all sorts of things to aid criminality in our country," he said.
"Some of you have stood firm and said not in our name. You have turned against them and arrested them."