Police will be taking a harsh stance against criminals this festive season. That’s the word from Police Minister Bheki Cele. He was speaking at the launch of the Gauteng police Safer Festive Season Operation in the west of Johannesburg.
The operation is conducted annually between the 15th of October and the 31st of January in an effort to prevent and combat crime through heightened police operations and visibility.
“We are sitting at around 3 billion illicit trades here, all these things you see here are counterfeit things not only here, inside there are big boxes as we listen you realise that there is a fiscal blood bath which the minister will tell us on the 1st of November,” says Cele.
Police say it will be all hands on deck and officers on the ground will be taking a zero-tolerance approach to criminality.
“During this time there is no police that goes to leave. Everyone comes back and we work. South Africans must be safe, and our visitors must enjoy the proper festive season. But we are also blessed to say that come 15 December, the president releases 10 000 officers that are in training as we speak and they help to increase capacity and visibility and as they come out of training they are deployed and they increase visibility,” Cele adds.
“This is the time whereby we experience a high rate of crime, so our officers have all responded positively and they decided not to take leave this time around. So, it means we are going to have more heavy boots on the ground. So, it is going to be zero tolerance with everything we do so if criminals think there will be mercy from our side they must think again. Obviously, what we are going to do is ensure we enforce the laws of the land,” says Gauteng Provincial Commissioner General Elias Mawela.
Video: SAPS launch Safer Festive Season Operations in Gauteng
Gauteng Premier, Panyaza Lesufi has apologized in advance for the inconvenience that will be caused by their strict operations.
“Let me apologise to society because they are going to be inconvenienced as long as you are in Gauteng. We are putting up to 18 000 CCTV cameras. So, we will be monitoring every movement. We are putting drones and helicopters, there will be lots of roadblocks and stop and searches and taverns searched and there will be police invading people’s space. So let me apologise,” says Lesufi.
10 000 newly trained officers will also be deployed during the December period.