Festive season crime operations yield results – police minister

Police Minister Bheki Cele says police went into the festive season well equipped to take on the task of tackling crime.

“For the third quarter (of this financial year), which includes the festive season, police officers were adequately resourced to deal decisively with criminals in all forms and shapes.

“We came into this festive period well prepared. We unleashed our Safer Festive Season operational plan on the 13th of October 2023 Through it we deployed various policing interventions,” Cele said.

Quarterly crime stats

Cele was speaking at a media briefing on Friday in Pretoria to release the quarterly crime stats. He said top police leadership gave strict instructions and a clear directive to officers on the ground. The instruction was to squeeze out all criminals from every corner of this country.

“It is clear that our efforts to prevent, combat and arrest criminals are proving to be effective,” Cele said.

The minister said the number of arrests made prove that Operation Shanela is making its mark. It is putting a dent on serious, violent and organised crime.

Operation Shanela nabs 442,000 suspects

Since its inception on May 8 2023, Operation Shanela has seen more than 442 000 suspects arrested.

Cele said during this quarter, four major drug busts were registered. Three were at the Durban Harbour. There, cocaine worth R300-million was seized in separate incidents.

“The most recent drug bust during this period was for cocaine to the value of R151-million on the 4th of December 2023. The fourth drug bust was at the Gqerberha Sea Port, where cocaine worth R65-million was seized,” Cele said.

Cele said in this period, R800-million worth of drugs were destroyed in Gauteng.

Drug laboratories shut down

“These were drugs collected during policing operations across the country. Fifteen clandestine drug laboratories were shut down. A total of 21 suspects were arrested for drug-related charges, including manufacturing and dealing,” the minister said.

“Indeed, our intelligence structures are hard at work in preventing and putting a stop to the drug trade in the country and beyond.

“This is also a clear demonstration that all stakeholders involved in border security management are working together. This helps to tighten the control measures of cargo entering and departing our country.” 

Reduction in murder rates

Cele said for the past two consecutive terms, police have noted a reduction in the number of murders reported.

“It is disturbing and concerning that the number of people murdered during this period increased by 2.1%, leading to 155 more people murdered compared to the same period.

“The provinces of KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape and Free State must be commended for the reduction in the number of people murdered during this period. The majority of the top 30 stations where murder was most reported include the Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng and Eastern Cape,” Cele said.

Reduction in cash-in-transit heists

With regards to cash-in-transit (CIT) heists, Cele said the specialised teams put in place in each province are yielding results. These ensure that there is a reduction in the number of CITs taking place.

“During this period, 46 CIT armed robberies took place, which is 11 counts lower than the previous crime reporting period. In the past year, more than 75 wanted CIT suspects have been arrested during takedown operations.

“High calibre firearms, including rifles and AK47s, as well as high performance vehicles that were used in the commission of these crimes, were seized,” Cele said.

Construction mafia

On construction mafia crimes, Cele said the SAPS continues to deal decisively with this crime category.

He said construction mafias continue to pose a threat to business and the economy of the country.

“From April to date, more than 61 suspects linked to these extortions were arrested. Since 2019, 27 accused were convicted for a collective 43 years direct imprisonment,” Cele said. 

  •  SAnews.gov.za

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