Police Minister Fikile Mbalula has again urged officers to "fight fire with fire" when tackling crime.
Mbalula addressed the final day of police union Popcru’s central executive committee meeting in Irene, Pretoria, on Sunday.
He says that criminals have become brazenly arrogant in their illegal behaviour.
“It cannot happen in our country that thugs and criminals do as they please. You look at social media, they are playing with money. They are rampant and arrogant. We must squeeze them. We must squeeze them and let them know that they’ll never play in any party with filthy, stolen money.”
He also urged officers to focus on tackling crime.
“SAPS management must not find itself deeply involved in lobbying and campaigns for certain politicians to be Minister of Police against the other. Comrades, such behaviour is a root to a Gestapo and only creates intransigence and unlawful political conduct.”
Last month, Mbalula came under fire for using vulgar language and inciting aggression.
But the minister defended his choice use of words to describe how police should deal with criminals.
Mbalula told the police's tactical response team to “crush balls” and make criminals drink urine.
“I didn’t talk about testicles. I said balls and then squeeze the balls. It was figurative. It doesn’t mean we must kill people, it means to make it unbearable for those who practice crime.”
He added: “If you squeeze the balls… you know you play with balls and you squeeze them. You squeeze them because you want to squeeze the balls. Now the judge can’t judge what I am saying.”
Mbalula’s recent comments comes as reports reveal how the Police Minister has effectively seized command and control of the police’s Crime Intelligence unit, and side-lined acting National Commissioner Lesetja Mothiba.
It emerged last month that Mbalula had issued a ministerial directive to the unit.
Despite Mothiba’s attempts to resist what have been described as irregular and unlawful instructions from the minister, the unit now reports directly to the police’s political head.
Meeting minutes and confidential information notes reveal Mbalula:
• believes Crime Intelligence officers are illegally spying on him and carrying out a campaign to discredit him.
• has ordered several promotions of generals be rescinded, and another general’s transfer out of the unit.
• receives weekly intelligence briefings from the head of the unit.
• has been added to the police’s daily intelligence briefing mailing list.
• issues instructions directly to the head of Crime Intelligence, bypassing the acting national commissioner.
Security and police analysts, former senior police officers and Crime Intelligence insiders have reported that what Mbalula is doing is highly irregular and breaks down the recognised chain of command within the police.
Instead of responding to the allegations and concerns, Mbalula’s office warned the media about possible criminal prosecution.