Bheki Cele to cops: prioritise protection of women and children; don't be afraid to defend yourselves
Police minister Bheki Cele has called on law enforcement officers to prioritise the protection of women and children over the festive season.
SowetanLIVE reported that Cele, who was speaking at a festive season campaign in Mbombela, Mpumalanga, on Tuesday, also warned police officers to refrain from using their guns to shoot their girlfriends, boyfriends and people who get involved with their partners.
Cele told SAPS members, SA Revenue Service and home affairs officials and soldiers that the protection of women and children should take centre stage this festive season.
“Remember, this is in the province that is huge, besides coastal provinces, where people come here for Christmas. This province still claims the big portion of tourists, both international and national, and you should know that for this province to continue being the gold mine of tourism, we must make sure that tourists are protected,” Cele said.
“When people see you, they must feel hope - but for some reason Satan has fallen to this world. When you see a man these days, you see a devil. I don't know why men treat women as they do.
“I don't know why men think they own women. I don't know why men think women are there to be raped, abused and murdered,” he added.
He urged the officials not to have sympathy for those who rape and abuse women and children.
“Especially, male officers, when women come to report at the police station that they have been abused, don't tell that woman to go back and negotiate.
“When she comes for the first time, you tell her to go back and negotiate, she comes for the second time and you tell her to go back and negotiate, she won't come for the third time because, by then, she is dead,” the minister said.
He said police officers who told women to negotiate with their abusers must come to him so that he can send them to Syria where there's war.
“We don't negotiate here, you don't tell women to go back and negotiate. But you go and arrest that ugly man. If you want to negotiate, come here I will send you to Syria. You don't ask women why they are wearing short skirts; you are not fashion advisers here.”
Cele decried the rise in cash-in-transit heists in Mpumalanga and called on the police to use their guns if they needed to, to defend ordinary citizens and themselves.
“If I look at most of you here, we have given you tools of trade. We give doctors stethoscopes, teachers chalk and we give you tools. When the engagement comes, there should be one man standing, which is the member of the SA Police Service. We are not here to bury you.
“And you are also human beings; you have [the] rights to defend yourself. The law further says you have a right to use deadly force ... use the tools and don't be scared here, as long as you use the tools within the law.”
He, however, cautioned: “But if you take these guns and tools and shoot your boyfriends and girlfriends, we won't defend you.”
Cele said law enforcement officers must not take leave this festive season and said they would be paid for overtime. Cele later joined a roadblock on the N4 and two unroadworthy minibus taxis were impounded.