Police Minister Fikile Mbalula has issued a stern warning to criminals that it does not matter what nationality they are, police would spare no effort in the clampdown of crime and corruption.
Minister Mbalula was speaking at the re-launch of crime busting Operation Fiela which means to sweep in SeSotho.
“We cannot coexist with criminals in this country and for us it matters not what nationality they are, for as long as they are committing crime, we will clampdown on them,” said Minister Mbalula.
The first undertaking was in 2015 after an outbreak of attacks against people from other countries.
The second operation has been dubbed Operation Fiela II and aims to root out criminals and shutdown crime hotspots.
Police Commissioner General Khehla Sitole said Operation Fiela I and II differed because of one crucial aspect which aims to ensure criminals are dealt with effectively and that is the “close down” of crime hotspots.
“The first crime operation only had the two principles to arrest and remove. Operation Fiela II has three, which are to arrest, remove and close down. The close down is an important part because it will ensure that the crime hotspots are shut and can no longer operate,” said Commissioner Sitole.
The operation, which follows a decision taken by Cabinet to reinforce the National Development Plan (NDP) on building safer communities, will run for a year and will then be reviewed by Cabinet.
Taking its cue from the NDP and Cabinet, the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NATJOINTS) implemented a multi-disciplinary, integrated approach to crime which includes all law enforcement agencies and departments.
The law enforcement agencies involved include South African Police Service (SAPS), Home Affairs, Labour, South African Revenue Services (SARS), National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), the Metro Police, Defence, Home Affairs, Justice and Correctional Services.
Joint efforts to ensure Operation Fiela’s success
Minister Mbalula said as Operation Fiela is a joint operation involving various stakeholders, essential to its success is the ability of the national, provincial and local government to work together.
“We cannot politicise the fight against crime, it is essential that we pull together from all levels to deliver safer communities to our people,” he said.
The Minister thanked Johannesburg Executive Mayor Herman Mashaba in his pursuit to sift through criminal activities in the city and restore law and order.
Mayor Mashaba said he was elated to form part of this initiative to catch criminals as it serves as an opportunity to show criminals that crime would not be tolerated.
“In corporation with SAPS, Home Affairs have regularly undertaken raids where both local citizens and foreign nationals hijack buildings. But we are not going to tolerate crime in our city.”
According to the Mayor, the City of Johannesburg is investigating over 2000 cases involving funds over R16 billion.
He added that the city has bolstered its efforts by recruiting 1500 metro police who will assist the police in their fight.
Gauteng Community Safety MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane said her department gave all stakeholders its full support to ensure that communities feel safe.
In officially declaring Operation Fiela II open, Minister Mbalula called on the men in blue to do their work with diligence and be relentless in their fight.
“Police stations must become centres of excellence. People should not be afraid to go to police stations in fear that they will not be assisted,” he said.