Fikile Mbalula criticises 'catch and release' of criminals

This is after it emerges that deputy minister's hijacker was out on bail for similar crime

Tsotsis must be profiled - Mbalula

Pretoria - Minister of Police Fikile Mbalula has called for repeat offenders or those who have had many cases against them withdrawn, to be profiled and for their information to be kept on record.

This as he ripped into the bail system after it emerged that a man suspected of hijacking and kidnapping Deputy Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Thabang Makwetla, was out on bail on another hijacking charge at the time.

“Tsotsis must be profiled,” he said.

Makwetla was hijacked last Sunday at the Riverdale hospital in Parktown, where he was going to visit a friend when he was allegedly accosted by four suspects who put him face down in the back of his vehicle and also shoved two security guards from the hospital, into the boot.

The suspects then allegedly drove off with him to an unknown house and then drove to an ATM and requested pin codes for the Deputy Minister’s bank cards and withdrew an undisclosed amount of money.

They dropped Makwetla and the two security guards in the North West in the early hours of Monday.

One of the suspects arrested has been name as Brandon Mashigo, 24, who was arrested on Monday in the Garankuwa area.

He appeared in the Pretoria Magistrate's court on Thursday on charges of kidnapping and hijacking and was remanded in custody.

Three more suspects were arrested on Thursday, where a firearm and a watch were recovered.

Mbalula said Mashigo had been out on bail for a similar hijacking offence.

'We are going big'

The Police Minister lashed out at the courts and Magistrates for giving bail to repeat offenders, or as Mbalula called them recycled criminals.

“Police have proved it time and time again that they arrest criminals and then the courts release them,” said Mbalula.

“These are not new people, they go to the police station, get bail and come back.”

Mbalula said there are weaknesses in the criminal justice system and that there needs to be recourse to strengthen and close the gaps that allow repeat offenders to get bail or even have their cases withdrawn.

Mbalula also challenged the conditions for bail, questioning how a person who has been accused of raping a child can get bail for R50 000, saying that same person is going to commit the same crime.

“How do you give bail to a person who has ten cases?” said Mbalula.

He also spoke about having a list of accused that have had a number of cases withdrawn against them. He would not be drawn into why the cases were withdrawn and said it could have been for a myriad of reasons.

The Minister also announced that a task team will be unveiled that would deal with the spate of alleged political killings in KwaZulu-Natal.

“We are going big; a lot of people will be arrested.”