ANC: ‘Unfair’ to blame Cele for high crime rate

ANC: ‘Unfair’ to blame Cele for high crime rate

The African National Congress says it still has confidence in the leadership of Police Minister Bheki Cele despite calls for his head over high levels of crime. 

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On Monday, the ANC’s peace and stability chairperson, Poppy Boshielo, briefed the media on the interventions to tackle illegal mining and other forms of lawlessness on the sidelines of the party’s national executive committee gathering in Boksburg.

There have been growing calls for Cele to step down over the high levels of crime in the country.

Last week, the minister was lambasted for his utterances during an address at the launch of the Western Cape Safer Festive Season campaign, wherein he accused young women of availing themselves for exploitation by drinking alcohol.

READ: Cele's underage drinking remarks shows govt's not treating GBV seriously enough' - #NotInMyName

The country has been rocked by the scourge of illegal mining and related violent activities.

Boshielo says efforts are in place to improve the government’s approach to tackling the problem, which includes working together with the Department of Home Affairs and the SA National Defence Force.

“We are refining our processes, and it’s unfair to put the blame on Comrade Ndosi [Cele] when he’s trying as much as possible to do the best he can. As the ANC, we have trust in him, and we going to support him.”

Giving an update on the matter, Cele said President Cyril Ramaphosa will soon make a pronouncement on the government’s plans to deal with illegal mining.

“We have finalised the structure that will be led by the police, the defence, home affairs, and state security on a concentrated and concerted effort to deal with the zama zamas.”

Ramaphosa and his Lesotho counterpart Samuel Ramatekane recently pledged to work together to tackle illegal migration and illicit mining as part of efforts by the two countries to strengthen trade and other relations.

In May, more than 30 illegal miners, who are believed to be Basotho nationals, were killed following a methane gas explosion at an unused shaft of the Harmony Gold mine in Welkom, which had been shut down over a decade ago.

“In the North West, two weeks ago, 18 people were found guilty, and they were given six months or R12,000 fine. In the Northern Cape, we arrested 867 of those guys. Unfortunately, there was no capacity to deport them because all of them were foreign nationals,” Cele added.


The country has experienced a series of brazen cash-in-transit heists in recent back, with more than 250 taking place since January.

This marks a 30% rise compared to the same period last year.

Earlier this month, one would-be robber was killed during a shootout with police on the M1 highway after police reacted to a CIT robbery in Springs.

Meanwhile, in KwaZulu-Natal, four people believed to be involved in a string of heists were killed when they exchanged fire with police in KwaMashu.

According to Cele, three more people from the same gang have been apprehended.

“The three were arrested yesterday (Sunday) in Phoenix with a long list of things – like firearms, cars, police uniforms, and things. And with their arrogance, they regard this thing as a business and even carry a money counting machine.”

CIT robberies in South Africa are carried out with almost military precision, using high-caliber weapons and explosives.

Cele said there are four sources where people involved in violent crime, including political killings, get their weapons: “One is those that cross the border. Secondly, they come from security companies that go under, and nobody will account for their guns; the third one comes from our unscrupulous rotten potatoes from the security cluster, and the fourth one, which is the biggest supplier, is the legal firearms that come from South Africans.”

He says at least 700 firearms belonging to police officers have been lost.

The minister stressed that police alone would not be able to tackle crime, adding that the international standard is one police officer for every 220 citizens.

South Africa’s ratio stands at 1: 424. 

He says the government is aware of the challenge and is trying to close the gap through vigorous recruitment processes – training up to 10,000 hopefuls every year since 2022.


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