Minister Cele has disputed that the police are not doing enough to deal with crimes such as cash-in-transit heists.
Criminal activities across South Africa peak between Thursday and Monday morning, according to Police Minister Bheki Cele.
‘SA can’t be co-governed with criminality’
Addressing the media at the Birchwood Hotel in Boksburg, Ekurhuleni, on Monday, Cele pushed back against the suggestion that the authorities were not doing enough to combat crime.
The minister said the police was continuing to mitigate crime with Operation Shanela.
Since inception in May, according to the Cele, Operation Shanela had resulted in the arrest of more than 170 000 suspected criminals across the country.
“Many of them [have outstanding cases] on murder, house robberies, car-hijacking and all that,” he said.
“The police don’t get weekends off now… station commanders don’t know anything called weekends. We can’t allow the country to be co-governed with criminality.”
Cele revealed that most crime incidents take place from Thursday in lead up to the weekend.
“From Thursday until Monday morning, those are very [crime active] days but we have saturated that.”
He pointed that the police had arrested one of the “top criminals” in Western Cape.
“Ralph Stanfield, together with the wife have been arrested, and they have been trying to get bail. We note that he is a dangerous criminal and we are ensuring we succeed in ensuring that he is convicted.”
The minister said that seven Nigerian nationals were nabbed for dealing in drugs and targeting police in Northern Cape.
“They plotting and planning to assassinate the police because the police have hit them hard on the drug-related issues … and they are all illegal [foreigners] those guys.”
Watch the briefing below:
Cele further spoke on the rise of cash-in-transit (CIT) incidents across the country including an incident where 19 robbers were killed in a shootout with the police in Makhado, Limpopo.
The minister confirmed the arrest of three suspects in connection with a CIT robbery in KwaMashu in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN).
“They were arrested yesterday in Phoenix.”
He said the suspects had guns, police uniforms, cash and other items in their possession.
“They have got a money counting machine so they regard this thing as a real business,” Cele said.
The arrest follows four suspects being killed in a gun battle with police in KwaMashu on 6 October.
The deceased were believed to have been involved in CIT robberies in the eThekwini district, according to police.
Furthermore, the minister bemoaned that some of the police’s crime combatting efforts go unnoticed.
“We prevent a lot of these things and, unfortunately, that does not make the news once it has been prevented so one would think there is no such prevention and all that. I have a list of cash heists that have been prevented … we arrested one of the top [criminals] in Mpumalanga so the police are really working, assisted by intelligence.”
Political killings, DNA backlog
Cele said the police were working on dealing with political killings since formation of the inter-ministerial committee in 2018.
“[At least] 348 people have been arrested. There have been 52 councillors killed, and 32 are ANC councillors. Among those arrested, 18 are doing life, and 38 are doing between 10 and 73 years.
“This thing of saying nothing is happening there cannot be true when 348 people have been arrested. There is a response. Killings are still happening, but work is being done.”
Meanwhile, Cele indicated that the backlog of DNA samples had been reduced from 241 000 to 126 000.
He said the reduction would help the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to fast-track its gender-based violence (GBV) related cases in court.
“There was an issue raised saying there were women abuse cases [that] were thrown out of court because the DNA backlog … that is not true. Even during the bad days, the NPA worked with the police laboratories [which] led to 34 000 cases being trialed in court.”
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