Police Minister Bheki Cele has introduced top SAPS members to deal with the spates of violent clashes that left one person dead and five others injured in Soweto with immediate effect.
Cele gave police at least 48 hours to arrest those who committed the murder and attempted murder.
“Our top priority is that those who committed this murder must be arrested at least in the next 48 hours. I am told that this was a peaceful march, nothing provoked them but they killed and innocent life. As police, it is our job to investigate and protect the communities,” said Cele.
Cele said this during his visit and addressing a group of Kliptown community members yesterday, following shooting incidents that left ‘Operation Dudula’ member Kgomotso Diale dead and five others injured..
Cele first went to Chicken Farm informal settlement, the area where the crime scene took place before visiting Diale’s family
Cele received a full briefing from the Provincial SAPS led by Gauteng Provincial Commissioner Lt General Elias Mawela on the shooting incidents and also outlined solutions to the growing illegal activities that are sighted as possible motives for the violent confrontations and deadly shootings.
Cele took a swipe at some people, who according to him, lack respect with regards to law.
“One of the challenges we are faced with is that there are some people who think they are in charge in a manner they want to. If I was speaking township language, I was going to say basijwayela (loosely translated as they lack respect),” Cele said.
“It cannot be OK that citizens be attacked with illegal firearms by legal or illegal immigrants. There should be an urgent action to be felt to show that there was tragedy that occurred in the area,” he said.
Residents complained about a high volume of copper cable theft incidents that has resulted in them not having electricity in the past couple of months.
Some residents also complained about a lack of policing in their area.
Cele said after being briefed at the police station, he learned that the lives of community members are disrupted every day without fail.
“There are people who steal electricity cables and go to sell them. Our (police) duty is to deal with criminals wherever they (criminals) are from South Africa, or foreigners, if it is people who are illegal, police would have to be tough. I hear that you say, police don’t help you much.
“When engaging the police , they told us they lack resources. That challenge will be addressed. I have communicated with the National Commissioner Lieutenant General Fannie Masemola that when we leave Soweto today we are going to give 10 cars to the police to address their challenges,” Cele said.
He also announced that they have dedicated a team of 12 detectives that are going to deal with the issue and cases of murder and attempted murder.
Cele introduced Deputy Provincial Commissioner for Crime Detection, Major General Mbuso Khumalo, to the community.
“Khumalo says Operation Dudula leader Nhlanhla Lux Dlamini must move aside, he said he is the best, for me he will be the best if he can bring all perpetrators who did this to book,” Cele said.
He said the Constitution of the country allows all South Africans to peacefully march without being attacked.
“There are people who took the law upon themselves and opened fire and shoot people with illegal firearms while some are illegal immigrants. We are not going to tolerate that,” Cele said.
He also brought Mawela, saying he together with dedicated units such as Public Order Police (POP), also known as amaberete, to deal with challenges.
“The problem with amaberete is that I bring them in the morning, by the evening people want me to collect them back,” he said.
Cele said he had also communicated with Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, but unfortunately he is bed ridden due to flue.
“As police we must work hand in hand with Home Affairs officials. Police has collected about 548 illegal immigrants in Diepsloot, we then have to hand them over to Home Affairs to see which train they take them in.
“Home Affairs, police and army should see how to deal with them. Anyone who does not have documents to be in South Africa should go to where they have documents to be at,” said Cele.
Some community members shouted that foreigners must go and also said shacks should be eradicated.
Cele urged Gauteng police to watch the shops that purchase stolen copper because the copper is not stolen to decorate but to be sold.
“Perpetrators must go to jail and the places that buy stolen copper must be shut down,” Cele said.
A resident, known only as Thabang, said it was not a march on Monday but they called the leadership of Chicken Farm, saying they needed their help. He said they welcomed them.
“Immediately after we said we need help, they opened fire and shot at us. We wanted to address cable theft incidents. It has been three years since we have that problem,” he said.
Kgomotso’s younger brother and family spokesperson, Kagiso Diale, said they were overwhelmed with the attention by the media, saying his brother would have appreciated it because it focuses on issues that affected the community.
“My brother’s death was shocking in terms of how it happened. The violence was too much to bear about but also being there to identify him. People are showing support and that is easing pressure. He was a bubbly person and was very smart,” said Diale.