Home South African Bheki Cele stands by ‘fight fire with fire’ comments

Bheki Cele stands by ‘fight fire with fire’ comments

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Police Minister Bheki Cele said he stands by what he said and if this means he must be arrested for it, so be it.

Police Minister Bheki Cele says he stands by what he said when he told police officers that they must shoot first at criminals. File picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)

DURBAN – Police Minister Bheki Cele said he stands by what he said when he told the police to retaliate against criminals attacking them.

He had advised police officers last week to be on high alert at all times and to shoot first.

Cele said he stands by what he said and if this means he must be arrested, so be it. He was addressing the community of uMziwabantu in Harding on Monday, at the Ministerial Crime Prevention Imbizo.

He said criminals do not “smile or laugh with anyone” so it is imperative that police keep themselves and communities safe. “When there is a shootout between the police and criminals, the person who should be dead is a criminal. We cannot go to that scene and collect the corpse of a police personnel,” said Cele.

He said those who support criminals must wait until it is their turn to get a visit from criminals. “Those who support criminals, well congratulations,” he said.

When he tabled the quarterly crime statistics last week, Cele said fighting crime has come at a cost to members of the SAPS across the country.

“Twenty-two police officers were killed during July to September 2022,” said Cele.

He advised the men and women in blue to “fight fire with fire”.

After making these remarks the minister received a lot of criticism from political parties and the public. However, he told the Harding community that if it means he must be prosecuted for this statement, so be it.

Meanwhile, it was reported on Monday that a female police officer was killed and her two colleagues were seriously injured while they were attending to a complaint in Snathing Village, Mahlathini, on Saturday.

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