All the leave requests for policemen across the country have been cancelled for December, Police Minister, Bheki Cele said. Picture: Itumeleng English / African News Agency / ANA

Durban - All the leave for policemen across the country has been cancelled for December, Police Minister Bheki Cele said.

Addressing the National Press Club in Pretoria on Thursday, Cele said that as the country headed towards the festive season, the men and women in blue would not be taking a break.

"Actually all the leave has been cancelled, even at the top level," he said.

Cele said that officers will be out in full force over the festive period and "blue lights will be the order of the day".

"Officers will be on trains, in buses and bus stops and malls. There will be blue lights on roads and highways. You will see boots on the ground in taxi ranks, Chisa Nyamas, recreational parks, beaches to ensure that this festive season is festive and remains that way," he said.

It is all part of the police's new crime strategy nicknamed “Zizojikia Izinto” which will see police taking a different approach in tackling crime, Cele said.

"As the police service, turning the tide against criminality means for us, we must do things differently. This is why we are addressing the availability of resources and the alignment of resources with urgency. We know that murders occur mostly on weekends and in many instances people are killed nearby drinking holes, now equipped with these facts, we will deploy more officers at identified areas at identified times in an effort to bring down incidents of contact and violent crimes. We will utilise resources optimally and shift them to places they are needed most,"  he said.

Cele also announced the launch of the latest firearms amnesty that will run from December 1 to May 31, 2020.

"I believe this period of amnesty will and must result in the reduction of the number of illegally possessed firearms in South Africa and it is in the public interest to do so. In the Western Cape, while the deployment of the SANDF to parts of the Cape Flats to tackle gang related violence,  remains a temporary measure. The joint operations with the soldiers and SAPS have resulted in the confiscation of 36 firearms in the past week alone," he said.

"This Amnesty creates an opportunity for members of the public to surrender illegally possessed or unwanted firearms, ammunition and/or firearm parts to the South African Police Service without fear of being prosecuted for the unlawful possession. But it is important to note that during this Amnesty period, there will be NO indemnity for firearms handed over which have been used to commit crime".

Those who surrender their firearms during the period of amnesty will be required to present themselves to their nearest police station.