PRETORIA, April 25 (Xinhua) -- The South African Police Minister, Fikile Mbalula told the police to "shoot to kill" on Tuesday if they are confronted by rogue and criminals in the line of their duty.
Mbalula who vowed to get rid of criminals had a stern warning for criminals and promised to hunt the criminals down with fire.
"Police must be ruthless against those who are armed...But what I am saying is if they are shooting at you, you shoot back," Mbalula told journalists while addressing the South African Police Service (SAPS) training center in Pretoria.
On March 3, the South Africa Police Service (SAPS) released a report, tracking the changes in crime in the 9 months from April to December 2016.
The figures showed that over 960,000 serious crime cases have been reported to the SAPS over the 9 months period, averaging over 3,550 crimes every day, or 148 crimes every hour.
The biggest crime increases have happened in the contact crime category, where robbery with aggravating circumstances (including carjacking) has increased by 6.1 percent.
In the report, the "trio crimes" (carjacking, robbery at home and robbery at non-residential premises) witnessed an upsurge, with carjacking seeing the biggest increase across all crime categories.
It is against this background that the minister had no kind words for criminals. He urged the police, "to shoot to defend the innocent."
"We will meet fire with fire within the prescripts of the law," He gave an update on strategic planning of the police, with the fight against criminals taking priority, saying the SAPS would escalate "the war against crime."
The police minister told journalists, he will soon be signing off a number of policies to enforce the work of the police.
"It provides guidelines for the South African Police Service in reviewing and aligning its operations, strategies, and instructions leading to improvement in criminal investigations. A policy on the investigation and management of serial rape and serial murder was developed," he said.
Mbalula said the police were currently developing a policy that would act as a guideline for officers to use force.
"We will shoot to protect the innocent, we will shoot to protect ourselves and members of the force," he continued.