ANC backs call for use of lethal force

The African National Congress (ANC) backs the call for police to use lethal force should their lives or those of the public be in imminent danger, party president Jacob Zuma said on Wednesday.

Addressing a Chambers of Commerce and Industry of South Africa conference, Zuma said: ”In this war against crime, we reiterate that our laws must bite.

”They must favour the victims of crime and be unsympathetic to those who deliberately seek crime as their employment.”

He told the conference that it should continue to support the country’s law-enforcement agencies, and especially the police.

”The safety of our police officials and our citizens is of paramount importance.”

However, he said police must act within the bounds of the law.

”We obviously cannot, as a ruling party or government, advocate a culture of trigger-happy police officials.”

Last week, Deputy Minister of Safety and Security Susan Shabangu told police that they should kill criminals if the criminals threaten police or the community.

”You must kill the bastards if they threaten you or the community. You must not worry about the regulations. That is my responsibility. Your responsibility is to serve and protect,” she said.

Speaking at the KwaZulu-Natal Institute of Local Government and Traditional Leadership’s fund-raising gala dinner on Friday night, Zuma said: ”If you have a deputy minister saying the kind of things that the deputy minister was saying, this is what we need to happen.”

Zuma pointed out that police had at one stage been ”asked not to shoot at criminals”.

”Because the fact of the matter [is that] criminals shoot police. Instead of talking at that level, we ought to be seeing action that we are tougher on the criminals. That’s the point I’m making.

”What the deputy minister was saying is what we are to be doing is dealing with the criminals rather than talking about it.”

On Wednesday at the Chambers of Commerce and Industry of South Africa conference, Zuma also urged business to be receptive to the ”importation” of skills.

He said skilled immigrants staying and working legally in the country contribute to the growth of the economy.

”Instead of taking jobs as some xenophobic compatriots argue, immigrants actually assist the domestic economy to create decent work opportunities for South Africans.”

”We can’t say we are globalising on the one hand and not globalising on the other.”

He said everyone has a role to play in building a united patriotic front in the war against crime.

”How do we explain the audacity of criminals who break into and rob a court of law, violating an institution that should protect us all, whose premises should be sacrosanct,” Zuma said to loud applause.

He was referring to the break-in at the Johannesburg High Court on Sunday.

No more excuses

Shabangu, who received a standing ovation last week, was responding to questions on what police and the government are doing to curb crime.

Residents of Danville, Pretoria West, Lotus Gardens, Hercules and Elandspoort complained about the ”pathetic excuses” given by police allegedly unable or unwilling to deal with crime.

”I want to assure the police station commissioners and policemen and women from these areas that they have permission to kill these criminals.

”I won’t tolerate any pathetic excuses for you not being able to deal with crime. You have been given guns, now use them,” she said

She added that there should be no warning shots.

”I want no warning shots. You have one shot and it must be a kill shot. If you miss, the criminals will go for the kill. They don’t miss. We can’t take this chance.

”Criminals are hell-bent on undermining the law and they must now be dealt with. If criminals dare to threaten the police or the livelihood or lives of innocent men, women and children, they must be killed. End of story. There are to be no negotiations with criminals.”

She said law-abiding people and not the criminals must be protected.

”I say that criminals must be made to pay for their crimes. The Constitution says criminals must be kept safe, but I say No!” she said. — Sapa

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