Police Minister Bheki Cele expressed confidence in the Crime Intelligence Unit after a “major shake-up and change of management” resulted in a series of continued successes and a more coordinated working relationship with communities.
However, Cele said an emerging “criminal bloc” attempted to push an anti-police agenda.
“If you are not on the side of the police, then you are on the side of the criminals,” he said, issuing a stern warning.
Cele accused some individuals within media houses and academia of collaborating with SA Police Service (SAPS) members to undermine the police force by discrediting their work.
He expressed concern over recycled and fabricated stories aimed at diverting attention from the unit's positive achievements.
“It is with concern that as we note these successes, on the eve of this press briefing, we see media reports and commentary by some academics that seek to discredit the positive work of the Crime Intelligence Unit,” Cele said.
“It is no coincidence and it remains a low blow to recycle old and fabricated stories in order to try and shift the focus of the good work achieved by this unit,” Cele said during a media briefing on Tuesday.
Cele said that while the Crime Intelligence unit was previously “deliberately hollowed out and rendered useless” at some point, they were determined to fix the unit and capacitate the police service in its entirety.
He said the Security Cluster was working with “synergy and agility” through the National Joints Operational and Intelligence structures (NATJOINTS), and they have made serious inroads in stabilising the institution.
The minister urged SAPS members not to be swayed by detractors and to remain focused on their duties.
“The Crime Intelligence division now has a tighter grip and is providing crucial information that is assisting everyday policing.
“Let me put it on the record that the Intelligence community is gaining back its might and its bite. The CI unit under the leadership of Lieutenant General (Dumisani) Khumalo enjoys the full support of the Ministry and SAPS management. It should continue to conduct its work without fear or favour for the benefit of all South Africans,” he said.
“Crime Intelligence division, the job before you is not an easy one, but it is certainly very possible to close those taps and leakages in your unit and clean out the rot that is stifling progress.”