“We can’t live this life of fear,” the former national police commissioner told residents of Vosloorus, on the East Rand, at a meeting to discuss crime.
“Someone, somewhere must rise and say enough is enough. That’s why It is relevant that young people of Gauteng are standing up and saying enough is enough. “
Bafana Bafana and Orlando Pirates captain Senzo Meyiwa was killed in the area last Sunday, while visiting his singer and actress girlfriend Kelly Khumalo. Two people allegedly entered the house, demanded cellphones, and shot Meyiwa before fleeing. Meyiwa was buried in Durban over the weekend.
Cele told the crowd that he hated feeling helpless and hopeless.
“I don’t want to be in a situation of helplessness and hopelessness. We are having our communities under siege. Where the answer is I don’t know,” he said.
Cele added that the anger that many Gauteng residents felt was understandable but it had to be directed and channelled in the proper direction.
“I know they are angry, if you can’t be angry about what is happening, you must check your brain and see if it is not liquid. The people of Gauteng must be angry but that is not enough. Angry and so what?”
“The call which is the clarion call is on the youth to channel this anger. This anger must be guided and directed to the ear. This is the time to be cool-headed but decisive. It is time to be kind like doves but make sure we are decisive and wise as serpents,” he said.
He urged the people to deprive criminals of space and time to thrive.
“There must be no peace for criminals, no matter where they are. We must be organised, resourced and squeeze the space,” Cele said.
Speaking about the Meyiwa shooting, Cele said during that fateful night, someone in the community was supposed to have asked questions.
“… You’re not going to tell me that someone will come here, shoot someone we all love and nobody stands up to ask what are you doing. That night, that moment, somebody should have said what are you doing.”
A member of the crowd shouted “shoot to kill”.
Cele responded: “That is not what I’m saying but if you feel that way then fine.”
He said South Africans united and stood together to bring an end to apartheid, something that had to be done again to bring an end to the scourge of crime.
“We fought and defeated apartheid, we can’t be defeated by two or three criminals. This time after Senzo has long been buried, we should not be guessing whether or not we have a criminal,” he said to loud applause from the crowd.
He said communities were the only structures that could end the scourge of crime and that criminals had to fear residents.
“We cannot have cats fearing mice. Criminals are mice and the communities are the cats,” he said.
Cele called for a return of street committees and community policing forums. He said the youth should lead but not because they were better leaders but because they were energetic.
He said South Africa had become a country where criminals had no respect for human life and that had to change. He encouraged parents to stand up against crime and stop harbouring criminals in their homes.
“Everybody is going to fight crime in their houses. There is no one here who will accept their unemployed child driving a BMW. He [the child] begs in town and gets R10 but drives a BMW. There is no BMW for R10,” he said.
Asked if he the current crime situation in the country made him miss being in the police force, he said one did not have to be part of the police force to realise the troubles communities found themselves in.
“Crime at the end of the day will only end if we as communities stand up together. Yes, other structures of government will have to be involved, but the people themselves will have to act,” he said.