Police Minister Fikile Mbalula says officers in uniform should be respected, adding that anyone who promoted criminality in South Africa would be “run down”…
“Whether it is Nigerians, Congolese or South Africans, we must clamp down on them and finish them. They must know that there is rule of law in the country,” Mbalula said.
Mbalula was addressing law enforcement officers at a sports field in Vanderbijlpark, south of Gauteng, on Monday afternoon.
His address came after police officers were attacked and assaulted during a drug raid in the area two weeks ago.
At the time, the police’s K9 unit was conducting a raid at a well-known drug dealer’s house, Mbalula’s spokesperson, Vuyo Mhaga, said.
He said police had found four occupants – one deceased – of Nigerian nationality inside the house.
It was alleged that one man had come to the scene and had attacked the police with broken bottles, leaving six officers seriously injured. “I get very sad when I see police officers being kicked. Never again will such a thing happen in our country. When we grew up, we knew that police in uniform must be respected,” Mbalula said.
He said some of the attackers had fled to Hillbrow in Johannesburg and to Kempton Park.
‘We are looking for them’
According to Mbalula, one of the men has been deported to Nigeria.
“Our target is not nationality. Our target is to maintain law and order in this particular area. In the majority of the cases that we are following up on, Nigerian citizens are involved. That is a very serious concern for us.”
Mbalula has urged police officers to be vigilant when acting on tip-offs. On Monday morning, during Mbalula’s visit, the suspected drug den was deserted. Some of the windows were broken. On the grass lay a mattress, empty bottles, clothes and shoes.
Mbalula raised concerns about an abandoned house next door.
“As you can see, in the Vaal there [are] a lot of abandoned houses. Those houses must be checked. Those houses are a nest for criminality in our country. Abandoned houses must be dealt with.”
Lieutenant General Lesetja Mothiba said a team of detectives is on the suspects’ trails.
“They must come and stand and answer to the crime they committed. We are looking for them.”
Mothiba said five police officers are still recovering at home.