PRETORIA, South African Police Minister Fikile Mbalula has issued a stern warning to criminals that it does not matter what nationality they are, the police would spare no effort in the clampdown on crime and corruption.

Speaking at the re-launch of the crime-busting Operation Fiela, which means “to sweep” in the SeSotho language, Mbalula said here Tuesday: We cannot coexist with criminals in this country and for us it matters not what nationality they are, for as long as they are committing crime, we will clamp down on them.”

The first Operation Fiela was launched in 2015 after an outbreak of attacks against people from other countries. The second operation has been dubbed Operation Fiela II and aims to root out criminals and shut down crime hot spots.

South African Police Service (SAPS) Commissioner General Khehla Sitole said Operation Fiela I and II differed because of one crucial aspect which is that the current operation aims to ensure criminals are dealt with effectively and that is the closing down of crime hot spots.

The first crime operation only had the two principles to arrest and remove. Operation Fiela II has three, which are to arrest, remove and close down. The closing down aspect is an important part because it will ensure that the crime hot spots are shut and can no longer operate, said Commissioner Sitole.

The operation, which follows a decision taken by the Cabinet to reinforce the National Development Plan (NDP) on building safer communities, will run for a year and will then be reviewed by the Cabinet.

Taking its cue from the NDP and the Cabinet, the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NATJOINTS) has implemented a multi-disciplinary, integrated approach to crime which includes all law enforcement agencies and departments.

The law enforcement agencies involved include the SAPS, Department of Home Affairs (Interior), Department of Labour, the South African Revenue Services (SARS), the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), the Metro Police, Department of Defence and Department of Justice and Correctional Services.