While every South African laments the firing of Pravin Gordhan, the Police service seem to be taking a new direction in terms of dealing with criminals as the newly appointed SAPs Minister Mbalula Fikile tells members to fight fire with fire.
Mbalula, who was formerly the state’s sports and recreation minister told members of the South African Police service (SAPs) that operation and relationship between the department and criminals all over the country will be like “chalk and cheese”.
Speaking during a parade to mark his official welcome to the Police Ministry at the SAPS Academy in Pretoria West, the police minister promised not to allow any police officer to die in vain but called on the members to tighten up their belts against all forms of corruption.
“When President Jacob Zuma appointed us, he said we must mobilize our people to work with the police to fight and defeat crime.” Minister Mbalula said while pointing out that fighting and beating crime was their mandate.
He also pointed out that fighting and beating crime was their mandate.
“No police officer will die in vain; anyone who kills a police officer will be met with fire. I am not saying shoot-to-kill, but shoot back. You have guns; use them to protect yourselves and communities.”
Minister Mbalula was accompanied to the parade ground by his deputy Bongani Mkongi.
The minister also urged members of various communities in South Africa to work together with the police to fight crime. He urged the police to be honest and not be on the payroll of criminals. “Minister Gigaba (finance minister Malusi Gigaba), said the police budget must be increased so we can fight crime,
“I am appealing to civil society, when criminals are gun-toting in communities and terrorizing and killing police, when we fire back, don’t complain. Don’t say Mbalula and Bongani [Mkongi] are coming with this thing of ‘shoot to kill’. If they come with AK47s, we must outgun them, shoot back! Don’t retreat! We are tired of burying crime fighters,” he said to a cheering crowd.
“We must not smile with heavily armed and dangerous criminals. We must nail them. We must be merciless. The Human Rights Commission will find us on the way. We won’t be governed by criminals and they should be put in their place,” he said as he urged citizens – particularly his 700 000 twitter followers to always give him updates on crimes.
Speaking on uplifting staff morale among police members, the new minister said he would add a “vibe of having a bit of fun” and would look at uplifting the spirits of police personnel in his new position.
Meanwhile, the Democraric Alliance has reacted to Mbalula’s comments about attacking criminals with guns, saying he threatens the safety of South Africans with his disturbing ‘fight fire with fire’ comment.
According to the DA, the comments are reckless and could result in loss of life, including the lives of police members and innocent bystanders and that its a clear indication that both the minister and his deputy are unfit to head the Department of Police, as both have expressed troubling views on the use of violence, and how the people of South Africa can and should be treated.
It is unacceptable that these men, who can so glibly utter such thoughtless and dangerous statements, can be trusted with the safety and security of millions of South Africans, said Zakhele Mbhele, DA’s shadow minister of police who also accused them of representing Zuma’s interests alone.
The party claims Zuma consistently rewards those whose concerns are not on ordinary South Africans who suffer the effect of their ineffectiveness.
The DA further described both Minister Mbalula and Mkongi as those who would rather revel in pomp and ceremony at a parade to honour their egos than get down to the very serious business of ensuring that SAPS members have the equipment, training and resources they need to make South Africa safe.
It is apparent that Mbalula is willing to prioritize pomp and ceremony over the needs of the SAPS and the safety of the people of South Africa, Mbhele said.