Use deadly force — Bheki Cele

24 December 2019 - 09:21 By Nomazima Nkosi
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Police officers on parade at the Gelvandale Stadium for the launch of the ‘Safer Festive Season’ programme
SPICK AND SPAN: Police officers on parade at the Gelvandale Stadium for the launch of the ‘Safer Festive Season’ programme

Using deadly force when dealing with criminals is well within the ambit of the law, police minister Bheki Cele told police officers in Port Elizabeth.    

Speaking at the launch of the “Safer Festive Season” programme on Monday, Cele said they must defend themselves against criminals.

“When you go to Section 49 of the Criminal Procedure Act, it allows you to be decisive in defence of yourself and in defence of the citizens of the republic,” he said.

“The law says you use not just maximum force, but deadly force is in the law of SA.

“Let nobody take your life, let nobody take the lives of innocent SA citizens, which is why we gave you tools.

“Those are tools of trade, not just things to mess up with.

“If you abuse those tools we give you — take them to shoot your girlfriend or shoot the girlfriend of your boyfriend and commit crime — we’ll make sure to convert your blue uniform to an orange one,” he said.

Cele told the officers to go out and instil fear in the hearts of criminals so that they jumped out of their beds at night apologising for their actions.

“You must remember that you, too, are humans and you have rights that you must defend.

“The biggest right is the right to life, so don’t allow anyone take your life,” he said.

Cele visited the Bethelsdorp police station as well as the Chatty satellite station before heading out to the Korsten taxi rank and later the N2 for a roadblock near Motherwell.

He  issued a stern warning to police officers who turned women away when they wanted to open cases of domestic violence and said they must not tolerate any form of abuse against women and children.

“I’m making a clarion call, especially to male officers and all males here today who don’t tolerate, don’t have space of tolerance, when it comes to the abuse of women.

“When women come to report at police stations that they have been abused by the ugly boyfriend or ugly husband, make sure you arrest those people and don’t tell those women to go back and negotiate at home.

“You tell her to negotiate and she goes back, and comes back a second time.

“When she doesn’t come back to report a third time, it’s because she’s dead.

“I shall not tolerate any police officer that does not take seriously the [issue] of abuse of women,” he said.

Cele’s visit formed part of the SA Police Service’s  efforts to turn the tide against crime with a campaign titled “Zizojika Izinto” [loosely translated: Things will Change] this festive season.

He said he had visited all nine provinces and commended the Eastern Cape for its crime-fighting efforts.

“We should be in the malls, beaches, streets, townships and suburbs making sure everyone is safe.

“We’re rounding up our festive season.

“We’ve heard the message that no-one goes on leave in order to keep people safe and ... we are keeping people safe,” Cele said.

Bay interim mayor Thsonono Buyeye and safety and security executive director Keith Meyer joined Cele for his visit around the city. .

At the roadblock, vehicles lined the N2, with random searches being conducted and the occupants told to step out of the vehicles for body searches.

Dogs from the K9 unit assisted in the searches of luggage in trailers.

A driver of a BMW ferrying nine passengers was issued with a ticket for overloading.

Provincial transport department spokesperson Unathi Binqose said official statistics on the number of road accident deaths would be provided only at the end of the festive season.

“The problem is we end up contradicting ourselves by only focusing on the people who died at the scene and not those who died later in hospital.

“It’s safe to say we are well into the 90s when it comes to deaths on our roads [so far],” Binqose said.

On Monday, transport minister Fikile Mabula released the midterm festive season road accident figures.

He said there had been 489 fatal crashes nationally since the start of the holiday period, with a total of  589 deaths.

Meanwhile, the Bay’s sports, recreation, arts and culture director, Kithi Ngesi, said the metro was more than ready for the festive season.

Ngesi said 60 lifeguards were manning the 150km of coastline around the Bay.

“We advertised early this year for lifeguards because of the influx of people during this season,” he said.

“Because of our Blue Flag status, one of the requirements is to have at least four lifeguards per beach and we also have equipment such as jet skis which we need when doing rescues or for other emergencies.”

Ngesi said the department was working closely with members of the SAPS, Metro Police, safety and security as well as aquatics.

He said the lifeguards’ working hours were between 7am and 7pm.

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