Bheki Cele has had an eventful month. Fresh from getting into arguments on the beaches of Cape Town, the police minister has now changed course – and he’s encouraging police officers to use ‘lethal force’ when dealing with hardened criminals. It’s probably not the cheeriest of Christmas messages…
Minister Cele is currently on a whistle-stop tour across South Africa, as part of the ‘Safer Festive Season’ initiative. In the past 48 hours, he has visited Kimberley and Port Elizabeth – taking the opportunity to dole out some bizarre advice…
“Do not smile when a criminal pulls a gun because that gun is not going to produce a picture. There is no selfie from a firearm. You must use lethal force. When criminals engage you and the dust settles and we pick up the pieces, it cannot be you. It must be criminals. They must learn to think a hundred times before they attack the police.”
“Protect South Africa with everything you have. When the chips are down, defend yourself and the public decisively. Don’t abuse your guns, but don’t under-use them. We are not calling for war. But we must fight.”Bheki Cele on lethal force
Bheki Cele has also welcomed the arrest of three possibly high ranking figures of the criminal underworld allegedly linked to an ongoing “extortion racket” of businesses in Cape Town. Mark Lifman, Jerome Booysen, and William Stevens appeared in the Cape Town Magistrates court following their arrest by the Hawks Serious Organised Crime Investigation.
The trio was arrested in one of the phases of an ongoing investigation into extortion, dealing in drugs, fraud, corruption, and money laundering activities of the Cape Town underworld. The minister believes these arrests are a huge victory in the fight against organised crime.
“Robbers do not carry broomsticks and feather dusters, they carry hard stuff. That’s why we give you the hard stuff – This is only the beginning of our efforts as the police to tighten the grip on these crimes committed by the underworld and run extortion rackets that undermine the state and threaten the livelihoods of local economies.”Bheki Cele