Crush criminals, Mbalula tells cops

Amid a wave of violent crime, retrained officers will focus on Gauteng.

South Africa is being swamped by extremely violent crime, Minister of Police Fikile Mbalula said yesterday, relaunching strengthened Tactical Response Teams (TRT) and tracking teams and a serious pushback against criminals.

Addressing 200 newly-retrained TRT officers at the police academy in Pretoria West, Mbalula said the TRT, also known as amaBerete, would be mainly deployed and based in Gauteng, where criminality was “fermenting”.

The TRT is being deployed from “Soweto to Hanover Park and back to Sunnyside”, he said.

The TRT are trained to deal with hijackings and home and business robberies while the supporting highly-trained tracking teams will focus on evasive dangerous criminals, including escaped jail inmates or those who have skipped bail.

“I want to see you everywhere, where criminals think they are in charge. I want to see you wherever criminals congest.

“We must unsettle them, we must squeeze them. If they have balls, we must crush them,” Mbalula told the members.

The most-wanted criminals should be the most hunted, he said, listing wanted suspects such as Boitumelo Calvin Mashalane of Silverton and Wesley Joseph Jacobs of Eersterust.

He added: “I am looking for you. Come in! In Gauteng, there are all sorts of fermentation of criminality and we need to cut that down by 50%.

“The escalation of crime in the country as a whole is a result of the fermentation of criminality in Gauteng.”

Earlier this year, the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) called for the re-establishment of the TRT unit, which had been moved to dealing with ordinary crime prevention.

Mbalula said: “TRT is very close to my heart and it is very important.

“The unions that are speaking, particularly Popcru, about TRT, we will meet with them.

“We will resuscitate this unit because we want to respond accurately and decisively against criminals.” There are 27 units across the nine provinces.

“In Gauteng, I want more than 500 members to be deployed in crime-infested areas like townships and other hotspots. “We must be merciless to dangerous criminals. Return fire with fire.” –

See the gallery below from the launch: Pictures by Jacques Nelles

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Fikile Mbalula Police

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