'POLICE WILL HIT BACK'
Minister of Safety and Security, Nathi Mthethwa has warned criminals that police would not hesitate to hit back if attacked.
Addressing hundreds of people and members of the SAPS in KwaMashu yesterday during the national police day celebration, Mthethwa said the police will fight back.
"We will not have mercy on them. When we have to arrest, we will do that, and when they shoot at us, we will hit back. We are prepared to track the criminals down wherever they are. If they are in the sky, we will follow them, even when they are deep down, we will go down and root them out. If they are rats, and hide underground, we will pull them out," he said.
An emotional Mthethwa said the criminals must know that their days are numbered. "To criminals out there or potential criminals, you must be warned. Your days are numbered. We will not succumb to you and your heinous deeds. We can't allow a situation where the number of orphans is escalating daily because of you. Criminal activity and crime in general have no place in this country," he said.
Mthethwa said the country cannot promise to protect the visitors who are expected to flock into the country for the Soccer World Cup in 2010, whereas its residents are not protected or feel that they are not safe in their own backyards.
"We have to protect locals, so that the world can see that they will be protected. We can't talk about the safety of visitors when our communities feel unsafe."
Mthethwa said as the country prepares for the elections, police would ensure that everything goes smoothly before, during and after the polls.
He said planning is at an advanced stage in ensuring that South Africa is safe. "We are ready for the Confederations Cup, the Soccer World Cup and the local government elections in 2011," he said.