Minister of Police Bheki Cele has assured South Africans that crime will be reduced with the help of all crime-fighting agencies.
“South Africans soon will be safe as we are going forward. We are putting all our minds together to ensure that we fulfil our mandate to prevent, combat and investigate crime. We want to give our utmost assurance that the gigantic footsteps of the [police] will be felt from all corners of this country,” Cele said at a press briefing at the KwaZulu-Natal police headquarters in Durban on Friday.
Cele was officially announcing the direction that new Hawks head, Lieutenant General Godfrey Lebeya, would take.
He turned his attention to the surge in cash-in-transit heists in South Africa and said police had already made progress in their investigation.
Arrests made in connection with heists in Boksburg and Limpopo were examples of “swift action by police in responding to cash-in-transit heists”, the minister said.
He pointed out that, between August 2017 and May 2018, there were 295 reported heists. Of those, 244 were investigated, 130 arrests effected, and 44 people convicted.
“We have had meetings with all our units, including the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), and we are motivated and ready to tackle all crimes, especially those that involve violence and corruption.”
Cele also said that he would meet the police national management forum on June 4 to make “serious pronouncements” on how police will “turn around the crime situation in this country”.
He added that authorities had already begun working towards turning the tide on crime in the country.
KZN police leadership
Cele said that solid leadership was in place and that permanently-appointed senior positions had been filled in all provinces, except KwaZulu-Natal.
When asked about suspended KZN provincial commissioner Mmamonnye Ngobeni, Cele prompted deputy national police commissioner Bonang Mgwenya to answer.
“She took us to the Supreme Court of Appeal, where we won. She has now taken the matter on appeal to the Constitutional Court. We know there is a great need to bring closure to the matter and we take it very seriously.”
Cele also said he would pay special attention to KwaMashu Hostel. He said police killed two suspected hijackers, who were believed to have shot and killed a Durban father on Thursday.
“We detected these criminals and waited for them in KwaMashu, where they waited to collect their stolen car. They saw police and opened fire. We retaliated and killed two.”
He added: “KwaMashu Hostel needs the Hawks‘ eyes. Everybody we want in this province, whether police in Greytown or here in Durban, we still see them in this hostel. Going forward, keep an eye on it.”