Shoot to kill?

I was astounded to see the following headline this morning: “Kill the bastards, Minister tells Police”.

It appears that our Deputy Safety and Security Minister Susan Shabangu made some really bold statements to both residents and the police in Pretoria West yesterday at an ‘anti-crime imbizo’ (which I suppose is a kind of community meeting where everyone can say their bit).

This should probably go down in the annals of South African history as one of the very few times when a politician has actually had the guts to verbalise something that most law-abiding citizens in our country have longed for someone in authority to say for years:

“You have been given guns, now use them. … I want no warning shots. You have one shot and it must be a kill shot. … A policeman has to help you. He has taken an oath to serve and protect and can’t decide who and when he wants to serve and protect.”

A brave woman indeed. She deserved her standing ovation.

Unfortunately, knowing the ANC’s repressive policies, I fear that she will probably be dragged back into the cave by the clowns in government and given a proper hiding, before being demoted to filing clerk in the dust-covered archives in the basement of an obscure institution.

But perhaps we should be more optimistic? Perhaps we will finally get a police force that isn’t afraid to use force? And perhaps even a fresh bunch of police commissioners who haven’t (yet) been charged with corruption, fraud, bribery, extortion, gangsterism, murder….

Mmm… perhaps that is asking a bit much…

I’ll quote the article below, in case it was actually just a mirage that will mysteriously disappear into cyberspace.

Police have been given the licence to kill by a deputy minister.

“You must kill the bastards if they threaten you or the community. You must not worry about the regulations. That is my responsibility. Your responsibility is to serve and protect,” were the fiery words of Deputy Safety and Security Minister Susan Shabangu at an anti-crime imbizo in Pretoria West on Wednesday.

Shabangu, who received a standing ovation, was responding to questions on what police and the government were doing to curb crime.

Residents of Danville, Pretoria West, Lotus Gardens, Hercules and Elandspoort complained about the “pathetic excuses” given by police allegedly unable or unwilling to deal with crime.

“I want to assure the police station commissioners and policemen and women from these areas that they have permission to kill these criminals.

“I won’t tolerate any pathetic excuses for you not being able to deal with crime. You have been given guns, now use them.

“I want no warning shots. You have one shot and it must be a kill shot. If you miss, the criminals will go for the kill. They don’t miss. We can’t take this chance.

“Criminals are hell-bent on undermining the law and they must now be dealt with. If criminals dare to threaten the police or the livelihood or lives of innocent men, women and children, they must be killed. End of story. There are to be no negotiations with criminals.

“The constitution says criminals must be kept safe, but I say No!

“I say we must protect the law-abiding people and not the criminals. I say that criminals must be made to pay for their crimes,” she said.

Lashing out at corrupt and incompetent police officials, Shabangu said the community had a voice and should use it, especially when it came to crime.

“If you feel you’re not being listened to or your rights are being infringed, stand up and make your voice heard.

“A policeman has to help you. He has taken an oath to serve and protect and can’t decide who and when he wants to serve and protect.

“You must not accept excuses from police who say they can’t help you because the crime didn’t happen in their precinct. They have no choice. This is not an issue open for debate,” she said to Loraine de Vries, who claimed a Pretoria West inspector had refused to help her because she lived in another suburb.

Responding to questions on police either responding late or not at all to emergencies, Shabangu said if a person wasn’t happy with the response, they should take it up with the station commissioner.

“You have a right to know why police respond late or not at all. It’s your life on the line. That’s another thing that’s not up for debate. Police have to respond, whether they like it or not.”

Appealing to communities for help in the fight against crime, Shabangu welcomed the questions.

“The only way we have a true picture of what’s happening is through imbizos like this. We need more interaction if we’re to win the war on crime.

“We need communities to get involved with us in order to restore law and order and in order for our country to have a future. If we don’t, our children won’t have a future.

“We need to take back our homes, our streets, our cities and our country and the only way we can do it is with the help of the people.

“You are our answer in the fight against crime,” she said.

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