Newly appointed Police Minister Bheki Cele has never been one to mince his words.
In his role as national commissioner of the South African Police Service (Saps) from 2009 to 2011, he brazenly pushed the boundaries, from instructing officers to shoot to kill criminals, to quoting from the Bible and warning the police to either shape up or ship out.
He was suspended on charges of corruption and subsequently dismissed in 2012. However, he’s back after President Cyril Ramaphosa made him police minister following a Cabinet reshuffle last month.
Yesterday, at the Saps academy in Pretoria where he was welcomed by national police commissioner Khehla Sitole in his new role, Cele was at it again. But this time, not so gung-ho.
“Whoever declares war against us‚ against innocent communities‚ against women‚ against children‚ against the elderly … you want war? You’ll get war,” Cele warned.
Putting proper procedures in place to combat the alarmingly high crime rate in South Africa should be the priority of all involved in the police. And that starts at the top.
The previous police minister, Fikile Mbalula, who resigned as a minister of parliament yesterday, talked a good game with very few results.
Let’s hope Cele can do more than talk the talk.