Police will go house to house and if necessary kick down doors in their pursuit of criminals‚ a hawkish Bheki Cele said in Port Elizabeth on Thursday.
“Criminals must have restless and sleepless nights‚” said the police minister at the NU2 Stadium in Motherwell at the launch of the national SAPS Safer Festive Season Operation in Nelson Mandela Bay.
Cele advised crooks to “find honest jobs”‚ saying: “Tell these criminals that they must go fix their CVs and start applying for jobs because their business of stealing money is finished.”
Wearing a long black coat and a black hat with red feather (which a gust of wind rudely removed at one point)‚ Cele cut an imposing figure as he said police would do all in their power to protect the innocent.
He vowed to hunt down lawbreakers where they lived.
“We did a walkabout at the taxi rank and a number of women told us that thugs come to their homes and steal their belongings‚ including their pension money. We can’t allow that situation‚” said Cele.
“[Police] will have to develop a list of the criminals we want – and then you go knocking house to house. If the criminal doesn’t open‚ kick the door [in]!
“There is no house where we will not enter‚” added Cele to delighted cheers from the crowd‚ which included teenagers and the elderly.
He also had a stern warning for members of the police who broke the law. “I am announcing to all police and all other South African law enforcement services: you must obey and respect the law and not get involved in criminal activities.”