KWAZULU-NATAL MEC for transport, community safety and liaison Willies Mchunu has called on police to stop praying when criminals draw guns.
Mchunu's call came amid preparations for the launch of an offensive campaign called "Operation Hlasela" - loosely translated: declare open war against criminals - in a bid to clean up the city ahead of the Fifa 2010 Soccer World Cup.
Mchunu said the campaign would assist police in dealing with criminals who have turned the province into a crime nests.
Speaking at a police awards for excellence event at the weekend, Mchunu said: "Don't pray when a criminal draws a gun on you. Your prayer might be answered too late - defend yourself and pray later."
He said they wanted Durban to be a crime-free zone as a host city for the World Cup.
Mchunu was adamant that the police would win the war against criminals in as short a time as possible.
"Criminals must surrender or face the fire."