Criminals in South Africa should relinquish their rights if Police Minister Fikile Mbalula has his way
“One of the things we have noticed in our country is that criminals have too many rights. My view is that you forfeited your rights to live as a full citizen from the moment you chose to be a criminal and practise criminality,” Mbalula said during a media briefing on Tuesday, after the 2016/17 crime statistics were tabled in Parliament.
The hard-talking minister, who previously ordered police to crush the balls of criminals and make them drink their urine, said communities complain on a daily basis that criminals are freed too easily after their arrest.
Mbalula said failures in the entire criminal justice value chain was leading to criminals being “recycled” in communities.
“I know we are a Constitutional country, not a banana republic but what is important is that we cut criminals to size with regard to their criminal records.”
According to the latest statistics, contact crimes were down 2,4 percent.
However, the rate of murder increased by 1,8 percent – with 52 people being killed a day – between April, 2016 and March 31 this year, while aggravated robbery was also up by 6,4 percent – a cause for concern for Mbalula.
Mbalula said the perception among South Africans was that police were not doing their jobs. That perception, he said, would only be changed once there was stability at police management level and delivery at police station levels increased.
The job of national police commissioner has been vacant since Riah Phiyega was suspended in 2015. The job of the permanent head of the specialised policing unit, the Hawks, is also vacant.
Mbalula bemoaned the fact that crime intelligence was weak, with the head of this unit also being vacant.
The minister said his request for the South African National Defence Force being deployed to hot spots in the country was receiving consideration by the presidency.
“We are responding to an alarming situation with regard to our communities where there are violent acts undertaken by violent criminals,” Mbalula said while defending his request while briefing MPs.
“This is not a static, permanent stationing of the defence force to do police work. We looking at tactical deployments and them [SANDF] being led by South African Police Service.”
Decision to deploy
Mbalula said the decision to deploy will come from President Zuma.
“The president will give us the go-ahead once he has actually cleared the matter with himself and people who advise him on the matter.”
Mbalula said, if approved, the defence force would be deployed to hotspots in Gauteng, the Western Cape and Kwazulu-Natal.
The three provinces were among those that recorded the most number of murders.
Gauteng, South Africa’s most heavily populated province, recorded 4 101 murders in the 2016/17 financial year, up 6,7 percent.
KwaZulu-Natal police responded to 4 014 murders (up 2,2 percent), followed by the Eastern Cape with 3 628 murders (down 0,6 percent).
The Western Cape recorded the fourth largest number of murders at 3 311 (up 2,7 percent), with gang related activities responsible for a large portion of the killings.