Police minister talks tough on crime

Minister of Police Bheki Cele walked the streets of Browns Farm before returning to the sports ground to listen to people's concerns.

Minister of Police, Bheki Cele has issued a stern warning that criminals will be dealt with.

Mr Cele visited Browns Farm last Thursday, April 5, after the killing of four people on Tuesday night. Gunmen had opened fire on a vehicle, killing the driver and three children.

He said the government was prioritising the fight against crime in Nyanga due to its notorious title of the country’s murder capital.

The South African Police Service (SAPS), together with other law enforcement agencies, held an anti-crime meeting on Thursday with the aim of addressing the serious and social crimes in the area.

Speaking to people of Browns Farm in Philippi, Mr Cele said the authorities would place added focus on Nyanga where thousands of residents have lost their lives to crime.

He said the country could not have a place where murder was treated as normal. He warned businesses to have all the necessary papers in place or face closure.

Mr Cele said they were closing in on criminals including those involved in last week’s murders. “We are not just trying to handle the current problems, but to deal with issues that have been in existence here. Nyanga should be demoted and the title be taken from it. We will bring our law enforcement here and it is not going to be nice. Criminals will face the full might of the law. We will squeeze the space of the criminals. We will go hard on them. If you know them, tell them I said hello,” he warned.

The police minister made it clear there was no time to waste when it came to the fight against crime. “We do not want murderers in our areas. I listened to the young traumatised girl and I was touched by her explanations at how she saw people maimed. What kind of person kills young kids? I do now want to call them names but if you say they are animals, it is fine. I wish those who criticise us when we say people who kill others do not deserve to be called people could come here and hear your description of them.”

Mr Cele said they expected good cooperation from businesses in the area.

“Businesses should all have receipts for whatever they sell. If you sell spoons, you must have a receipt for each and every spoon. If you sell sheep heads, it should be the same. Criminals steal our television sets and sell them to these businesses. We must demand receipts for each and everything in your business or you better close down. Shebeens with legal papers need to comply with their times or face us. Those illegal ones should close down, finish,” he said.

Resident Herbert Ndima said he was happy that the minister was talking tough. He said Browns Farm was getting out of hand when it comes to crime. “There was a time when ambulances could not come here because they were robbed. There were also similar incidents where people were brutally killed. We need to tighten the screws on criminals. I only hope that he is not giving us lip service,” Mr Ndima said.