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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist

WATCH: ‘Either you are with the people, or you’re with the criminals’ – Cele

Cele said he believes there is an “anti-police movement” to discredit the work of the the Saps and Crime Intelligence.

Police Minister Bheki Cele believes there is an “anti-police movement” to discredit the South African Police Services (Saps).

Cele was providing an update on recent successes achieved by Saps in response to serious and violent crimes, especially aggravated armed robberies, kidnapping, extortion, and cash-in-transit (CIT) heists.

The police minister said Saps had succeeded in capacitating the Crime Intelligence unit, but added that there are too many reports that discredit this progress.

Watch police minister Bheki Cele speak about “anti-police” sentiments.

“It is no coincidence and it remains a low blow to recycle old and fabricated stories to try and shift the focus of the good work achieved by this unit. A unit that was previously and deliberately hollowed out and rendered useless at some point in the history of this organisation.

“We view such as mere attempts to try and derail the work of the police and we want to be clear such experiments, for whatever reasons, will not deter us,” Cele said.

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Cele said police were aware of certain elements against the change within Crime Intelligence. He bemoaned attempts to discredit the police, citing individuals such as academia, media, and some within the police service.

“We are aware of reports by some academia in dismantling and ridiculing the work of the police. We are very much aware of that anti-police [attempt]. We are not saying police are perfect, we are not saying that there are no problems as we have mentioned that some of ours have been arrested.

“But this anti-police thing, clearly there are people that are deciding to join the block of criminals. Either you are with the people or you are with the criminals,” Cele said.   

Cele warned police through their aggressive approach to crime had “fired a warning shot to all elements of criminality and those who support crime”.

“We are clear that South Africa is not – and will never be – a haven for criminals or organised crimes. The long arm of the law will not be selective nor will it be kind.”

Operation Shanela

Meanwhile, Cele said the the police’s Operation Shanela was yielding results in combatting organised crime.

“The work of the Saps has – through intelligence led operations and weekly high density operations – resulted in the arrest of thousands of criminals, especially dangerous and hardened criminals.

“Assets worth millions of rand have been recovered and firearms have been removed off our streets. These covert operations have also resulted in [many] deaths of suspects, who violently resisted arrest,” Cele said.

He said South Africans on various platforms “have welcomed the bolstered and decisive policing efforts by the Saps who are going toe-to-toe with criminals”.

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