Police minister Bheki Cele has urged police officers to leave no stone unturned in investigating gender-based violence cases during the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond.
He was addressing police officers on Friday.
Cele flagged the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal as the most problematic provinces in the country in terms of crime.
“Those are the same provinces where criminals run a mob [sic]. But up to this point I am very happy to say we have not lost sight of our core function, to say that we are dealing with these criminals. So, I call on you to continue to decisively deal with both the armed and unarmed enemies,” he said.
Referring to a case where police recently made headlines after turning away a rape victim, Cele said this had been unacceptable and urged officers to prioritise such cases.
“Members fighting gender-based violence must also remain a priority throughout the pandemic and beyond. You are encouraged to continue improving your response to crimes committed against children, women and vulnerable groups. Investigate the cases throughout and leave no stone unturned in bringing perpetrators to book.
“Victims of gender-based violence must be treated, accordingly, with respect, don’t send them to go and negotiate, it’s not our job, our job is to arrest the perpetrators,” he said.
While the country recorded a staggering 13,674 Covid-19 infections overnight, Cele warned there was still a long way to go and called on residents to adhere to lockdown regulations.
“At this moment we don’t talk about post Covid-19, we don’t have any kind of medicine that tells us we are there. Make sure you take all the precautions.
“We will beat Covid-19, I assure as your minister, we will not only beat this virus, as SAPS, we will come out even stronger,” he said.
Cele slammed officers implicated in wrongdoing.
“Unfortunately, there are a handful of officers who have embarrassed the organisation by breaking the very rules they were meant to enforce and I am glad to say the national commissioner has taken a very hard stance on our members who are not respecting what they are supposed to do.
“We are not supposed to become part of the problem. We are not supposed to allow ourselves to be consumed [by] criminal activities,” he said.