Bheki Cele urges police to use 'deadly force' on criminals
'Do not smile when a criminal pulls a gun because that gun is not going to produce a picture. There is no selfie from a firearm'
Police minister Bheki Cele has called for law enforcement officers to be firm when dealing with criminals this festive season.
Speaking during this week's Safer Festive Season inspection tour in Kimberley, Northern Cape, Cele urged officers to "use deadly force", if needed, to defend themselves from criminals.
“It’s important to be hard on criminals. You have no reason to have a relationship with hardcore criminals," said Cele.
"When criminals go for cash heists they prepare. One part of the preparation is to eliminate whoever is in their way. That is why bank and house robbers do not carry broomsticks and father dusters, they carry hard stuff. That’s why we give you hard stuff.”
Cele said deadly force was written in police laws and officers should start using it.
He said that some may misinterpret his comments as a call for police to be brutal but explained that police also have human rights and should be "sharp and wise" when protecting themselves and enforcing the law.
"Do not smile when a criminal pulls a gun because that gun is not going to produce a picture. There is no selfie from a firearm," said Cele.
He said officers should treat good citizens with humanity but must be tough on criminals.
"When criminals engage you and the dust settles and we pick up the pieces, it cannot be you. It must be criminals. They must learn to think a hundred times before they attack the police," said Cele.