Police Minister Bheki Cele. File Photo: Phando Jikelo / African News Agency (ANA)

RUSTENBURG - The police will crack down on people causing violent protests in the North West, Police Minister Bheki Cele said on Wednesday.

"We spend a lot of money, instead of doing a normal policing, buying cars, training our police, doing other things. We took that money to the violence that you caused... whatever kind of violence we are not going to tolerate, we are going to hard on people doing that," he said. 

A wave of violent protests erupted in the North West on April 20, 2018, when people went on a rampage blocking roads, burning buildings and looting shops demanding that former premier Supra Mahumapelo should resign.

The protest started in Montshioa, the capital Mahikeng was shut down for a week, the violence spilled over to other parts of the province but were more intense in the Klerksdorp and Mahikeng areas.

Mahumapelo ultimately resigned in May and Job Mokgoro was appointed premier on June 22, 2018.

The protests cost the SA Police Service over R50 million.

Cele was in Rustenburg to evaluate the safe festive season operation, he went to Sondela, Sunrise Park, Boitekong Mall, walked in  Fatima Bhayat Street, busiest pedestrian street in Rustenburg before he went to the public transport precinct.

He warned criminals not to have a dinner with him.

"When Bheki Cele calls you for a dinner, it is not a short dinner it is a very long dinner," he said.

He said those who went out for "dinner" with him in 2018 may came back in 2026.

He said in Sondela people complained that they do not have a police station and also complained that the police were hard on them.

"There was a problem in Sondela, the police could not go around and kiss criminals, they had to be tough."

At least 12 people were killed during an ethnic clash between Xhosa and Sothos in November in Sondela. 

Eleven people were found dead in different areas of the informal settlement, some were burnt to death and others stabbed.

The clash was allegedly set-off by a fight between a Xhosa man and a Sotho man over a woman.

African News Agency (ANA)