Minister of Police Bheki Cele officially launched the national safer festive season operation at Khayelitsha stadium on Friday, October 13.
He also handed over 36 brand new police vehicles to the provincial police commissioner Lieutenant General Thembekile Patekile.
Mr Cele was accompanied by the national police commissioner Lieutenant General Sehlahle Fannie Masemola and other provincial police commissioners and dignitaries.
He said the vehicles would assist the police officers in the province in fighting crime and also indicated more than 2000 new police recruits would be allocated to the province to add more boots on the ground.
He issued a stern warning to criminals that police officers were going to come down hard on them.
Mr Cele also reminded police officers that they are policing under democratic laws where communities have the right to protest peacefully to raise their grievances on matters affecting their wellbeing and should be afforded that right.
But urged the public not to underestimate the police officers and obstruct them in applying the law.
He said communities must work with the police and not harbour criminals.
He said when women and children report a case of domestic violence they must be attended to urgently and with care.
He said police officers must never tell a woman who is reporting a case of domestic violence to negotiate with an abuser because that might be the last time she has a chance to leave a relationship alive.
He called on the police officers to perform their duties with empathy and enforce the law with a smile.
He said there are criminals who think they are running the country and there are criminals who want to co-govern with the government.
The minister said he is aware that he is being described as someone who is calling for a war but criminals have declared war against our communities.
“Don’t tell me about the human rights of criminals who do not care about other people’s human rights.
“The main human right is life itself. These people should never expect us to treat these criminals with kid gloves.
“I visited the community of Hanover Park and that community lives in fear and anger and have no space to enjoy life.
“That community is run by criminals therefore I charge you to claim that community back from gangsters. Last week 130 people were killed and that is not acceptable,” he said.
MEC of Safety and Police Oversight, Reagen Allen applauded the police for efforts to fight crime in the province.
He noted that the good working relationship between the national police ministry and the province is indeed yielding the desired outcomes.
He also grabbed the opportunity to express his sincere gratitude to various police forum and neighbourhood watch members who dedicate their lives and time to ensure their communities are safe.
Resident Yanga Mjoko said he is pleased with the efforts which the government is taking in tightening the grip against criminals but he still feels that they can do more.
He said one of his concerns was corrupt police officers.