Cops won't allow criminals to rule Joburg CBD - Bheki Cele

Bheki Cele says the police will not let criminals run the streets of Johannesburg.
Bheki Cele says the police will not let criminals run the streets of Johannesburg.
Image: Esa Alexander

Police minister Bheki Cele says law enforcement agencies will not allow criminals to run the Johannesburg CBD.

Cele was speaking during raids conducted by SAPS and the Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) in the inner city on Wednesday.

"We are saying there is no country that can have parallel governments. There is no country that can be run by criminals," he told eNCA.

“We can’t have the co-governance with criminality, this ... must be put off and make sure that government and everybody else runs the country accordingly.”

Cele commended the police for their work following last week's raids, when they were attacked by violent protesters. "Bravo to the South African police, the metro and everyone who is here. We believe we are doing proper work," he said.

The minister confirmed that Wednesday's raid had uncovered "a number of firearms". "We will take them for ballistics [testing] but we suspect some of them are illegal firearms," he said.

Gauteng premier David Makhura, who also attended the raids in the inner city, said seven machine guns were recovered during the operation - dubbed #OkaeMolao - and several undocumented foreign nationals were arrested.

“We have locked down the Johannesburg CBD, where we have recovered seven machine guns and made several arrests of undocumented individuals,” tweeted Makhura.

Several people shared videos of the raids on social networks.

Meanwhile, a group of about 200 people looted shops in the Johannesburg CBD on Wednesday.

Police spokesperson Captain Mavela Masondo said the group was marching through the inner city and went into a bottle store and restaurant, helping themselves to food and alcohol.

“Police responded swiftly and the group ran to Jeppe Hostel. No injuries were reported and no arrests have been made so far, but police have opened a case of theft, malicious damage to property and public violence for investigation,” he said.

Masondo said the police are investigating the purpose of the march, adding that the looting was unrelated to the police raids.

“It is not related to the raid. We cannot confirm the things they were carrying as the suspects ran away as police were responding," he said.

A video and photographs taken at the scene show the men carrying pangas, knives and picks.

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