The official has vowed to crack down on armed gangs after the transport minister was held at gunpoint
The South African police chief has condemned an armed robbery targeting the transport minister, and urged communities to assist police in their battle against all types of lawlessness.
Bheki Cele was speaking at the National Congress of Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (POPCRU) in Durban, following the incident, in which Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga and her bodyguards where held at gunpoint on a highway. A manhunt is ongoing.
“People say we are calling for a war, we are not calling for a war, we found the war in the way… these criminals, they are taking us on, so it’s no use of taking a step back,” Bheki Cele said.
The hold-up happened in the early hours of Monday outside Johannesberg, when the transport chief was travelling from KwaZulu-Natal to Gauteng. According to Chikunga, the suspects stole laptops, a phone, and the guards’ firearms. No one was injured.
The Transport Ministry earlier said the vehicle’s tires were punctured by spikes placed on the road, bringing the car to a stop so that the armed men could approach the vehicle.
“Something big nearly happened when they spiked the car of Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga and they ordered everybody in the car, including Minister Chikunga,” to lie face down, the police minister said. “They are taking everybody on, these criminals. We nearly lost a minister that would have been shot and killed.”
POPCRU members had gathered in Durban to discuss new approaches to crime and select a new leader of the union. According to the POPCRU union, at least 67 police officers have been killed on duty since January. The conference runs for five days, ending on Friday.
November 08, 2023 at 07:25PM