South African Police Minister Fikile Mbalula on Friday relaunched the police's specialised Tactical Response Team, urging police to crack down hard on criminals. Picture: Jonisayi Maromo/ANA

Pretoria -  South Africa's Police Minister Fikile Mbalula on Friday sent a strong warning to criminals, cautioning that the police will take drastic action against them.

Mbalula made the remarks at the South African Police Service's Pretoria West training academy where he was launching the elite Tactical Response Team (TRT) and tracking units.

"We resuscitate this team in Gauteng, precisely because we want to respond accurately and decisively against criminals. I'm saying to you our men and women of the police TRT, they must piss and drink it, the criminals. Do you hear me? What did I say?" Mbalula asked the platoons of police standing before him, mixing English and Xhosa.

The officers responded in unison: "Let them piss and drink it".

Mbalula went on: "Mabawu chame bawu phuze [Let them piss and drink it]. Do you hear me?"

He then made the remarks in Afrikaans: "Hulle gan syp en piss, die tsotsis van Suid Afrika".

South African Police Minister Fikile Mbabula, addressing the launch of the tactical response team, told officers they must make criminals drink their own pee. Video: Jonisayi Maromo

Mbalula said the SAPS was declaring "war" against criminals. 

"The people who are innocent, we must protect them. We are declaring war on criminals. This Tactical Response Team will be based here in Gauteng, and it will be rolled out all over the country," said Mbalula.

The former sports minister instructed members of the TRT to “crush the criminals’ balls”.

“TRT members who are going to be deployed in Gauteng, I don’t want to see you only in taverns. I want to see you everywhere, where criminals think they are in charge. I want to see you in the highways, wherever criminals congest and come together, we must unsettle them. We must squeeze them,” he said.

“If they have balls, we must crush them. We must crush their balls. [For] the other opposite sex, I wouldn’t say what we must do because women in our country are not criminals. They are honourable women, they are being aired [groomed] to become criminals. Our women and girlfriends are not criminals. They are corrupted by us, men.”

Mbalula was flanked by acting national police commissioner, Lieutenant-General Gary Kruser and head of the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NatJOINTS) Lieutenant General Elias Mawela at the event.

A statement issued by the SAPS said their Operational Response Services Division has ensured members of TRT and tracking teams undergo refresher courses and are certified competent to continue serving in demanding medium to high risk operations. The teams have been reinforced with the necessary skills and resources to provide a professional and effective service to create a safe and secure environment for all in South Africa.