Mthethwa wants TV criminals arrested

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Pretoria - Two men who threatened to commit crimes during the 2010 FIFA World Cup during footage flighted on a news program must be arrested, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa said.

The two self confessed criminals, featured on eTV's footage, said they intended to commit armed robberies and murder during the world cup.

They justified their intentions by stating that they simply view their actions as repayment for past colonials wrongs.

During the flighting, one had a stocking pulled over his head and face while the other was filmed loading a firearm.

Mthethwa said this conduct constituted a threat to the safety and security of members of the public and visiting tourists.

"The individuals in question have contravened section 1 (b) of the Intimidation Act, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment, I have ordered an immediate investigation," Mthethwa said on Saturday.

He said the utterances were made with intent to instil fear through the threat of violence and murder against the police and law-abiding citizens, adding that the statements serve to incite and encourage other persons to commit similar offences.

"In the circumstances I am satisfied that such individuals have also breached section 1 A(1) of the Intimidation Act, which carries a maximum penalty of 25 years imprisonment, I have also ordered an investigation into this violation," said Mthethwa.

Blaming eTV for airing the footage, Mthethwa said the persistent and repeated airing of it constitutes gratuitous sensationalism, promotes unlawfulness and creates an unnecessary climate of fear and hysteria.

"It further provides an unwanted public platform for thugs and criminals to serve to undermine South Africa's efforts to ensure a safe and secure 2010 FIFA World Cup tournament," he said.

National Police Commissioner, Bheki Cele, said he was concerned about these threats and equally view the harbouring of these thugs by eTV as unfortunate.

"While we do not whatsoever expect eTV to be the mouthpiece or Public Relations for the police, we however expect they should be sensible enough in their reporting.

"We challenge them to work with police, as a start, by providing us with identities and locations of these thugs...that in itself, will be a major contribution in their commitment towards a safer South Africa," said Cele.

Police have reiterated and assured all South Africans and international visitors that the 2010 FIFA World Cup will be safe and secure.