South Africa’s Police Minister Bheki Cele says criminals have declared war on citizens, following a surge in crime levels in the country.
This is after the country’s transport minister was robbed at gun-point in a daring attack on Monday.
Sindisiwe Chikunga was travelling from KwaZulu-Natal to Gauteng when the incident happened.
“We nearly lost a minister that would have been shot and killed,” Mr Cele said.
A manhunt has since been launched for the robbers, who stole some laptops, a phone and her bodyguards’ weapons.
“People say we are calling for a war, we are not calling for a war, we found the war in the way. These criminals, they are taking us on, so it’s no use of taking a step back,” Mr Cele added.
The minister said the government would address police shortages in the country, in an attempt to curb the escalating crime rates.
The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) wants tougher action to be taken against criminals following an increase in police killings in the country.
At least 67 police officers have been killed in criminal attacks since January, Popcru says.