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Bheki Cele: There must be no peace for criminals

The former top cop told Vosloorus residents the lives of criminals should be made difficult.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries, Bheki Cele. Picture: EWN

VOSLOORUS - "There must be no peace for criminals. Not in their houses, not in their church, at schools and on the streets."

These were the strong words by the Deputy Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister, Bheki Cele, on crime.

The former National Police Commissioner addressed community members yesterday at the launch of an anti-crime campaign on the East Rand.

Cele was joined by members of the African National Congress Youth League in launching operation 'Wanya Tsotsi' at the Vosloorus Civic Centre.

The operation was sparked by the murder of Bafana Bafana Captain Senzo Meyiwa who was shot and killed during a robbery at his girlfriend's mother's house in the area two weeks ago.

Cele says he was invited to address the community and was speaking in his capacity as a National Executive Committee member.

"When the community and societies are messed up as we have seen happening here, we must be passionate about it."

The former General however maintains despite the country's high crime rate police still can't act with a 'shoot to kill' mentality.

During his reign as top cop, he was widely criticised for his 'shoot to kill' comments, instructing police members not to hold back when opening fire on criminals if confronted by gunfire.

He says while crime has left communities feeling helpless and angry, violence isn't the solution.

Cele says police alone cannot deal with crime and communities need to stand together against criminals.

"Communities must rise against crime and close this space. They must work with all government structures. It's only when young and old stand together, they can say enough is enough. They must make sure the life of criminals is difficult."

After his speech, he shied away from suggestions he's on his way back into the police service.

"What I'm saying is any job I'm given, I will do it. Whether it's to look after fish, forestry and cabbage or anything else, I will do that."

Cele stressed his involvement in the launch of the anti-crime campaign does not signal any possible return for him to the police service.

He says anyone concerned by crime should be allowed to speak out about it.

Cele was axed in 2012 in relation to two police leasing deals.