06/11/2017 05:50 SAST | Updated 06/11/2017 05:51 SAST

Mbalula To Cops: Stay Out Of Politics, Focus On "Out Of Hand" Crime

"Comrades, let us depoliticise [the SA Police Service]," police minister Fikile Mbalula said on Sunday. 

Siphiwe Sibeko / Reuters
South Africa's Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula looks on during a media briefing in Johannesburg, May 28, 2015.

Police officers must stay out of politics and focus on combating crime, which is ''out of hand'', Police Minister Fikile Mbalula said in Tshwane on Sunday.

"Comrades, let us depoliticise [the SA Police Service]," he said.

"Let this be a professional organisation free of political parties head office gossipers who move from ear to ear with various promises of auctioned power," he told Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) members at their Central Executive Meeting in Irene.

"[The SA Police Service] must be led by management that cares for our people and the job at hand which is crime prevention and fighting," Mbalula said in a speech prepared for delivery.

Management and officers should not concern themselves with which minister may be reshuffled or not, or lobby for certain politicians to be the minister of police.

This behaviour invokes the Gestapo, the secret police of Nazi Germany, he said. According to Mbalula interparty partisanship is going as far as illegal intercepts and attempts to frame politicians.

He went as far as warning against a reincarnation of Fulgencio Batista, a Cuban army stenographer who elevated himself to pull presidential strings in the background and eventually rose to the presidency himself.

Mbalula warned that this situation often "starts at the top".

He identified current security threats to South Africa as: threats to territorial integrity, the authority of the state, the well-being and safety of South Africans and threats to the country's economic development.

He also told police officers to be vigilant of the growing private security industry whose employees are guarding key public institutions such as the National Prosecuting Authority.

In a wide-ranging speech, Mbalula paid tribute to police officers who were working in difficult conditions, and offered his condolences to families whose police officer partners or relatives had been killed in the line of duty.

He reiterated that criminals would have their ''balls crushed'' as police continue their fight against crime and urged officers themselves to behave with integrity.