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South Africa's new police chief declares war on criminals

Author: The BBC

South Africa's tough talking new police minister, Bheki Cele, has promised to take war to the criminals.

Mr Cele, who was appointed by President Cyril Ramaphosa in last week's cabinet reshuffle, told national police force at a ceremony in Pretoria today:

"Whoever declares war against us, against innocent communities, against women... you want war, you get war. We shall refuse to fall in front of criminals."

He also urged officers to sharpen their policing skills to better fight crime.

A 65-year-old former anti-apartheid activist, Bhekokwakhe "Bheki" Hamilton Cele is a known figure within the police.

He served as police commissioner under President Jacob Zuma from 2009 to 2011.

In 2010, a statement he made about overweight officers went viral on social media.

"General Cele", as he liked to be addressed then, told police officers to "shape up or ship out... when you walk down the street, people must envy your body."

His phrase "Stomach in, chest out" became popular to the extent that musicians produced remixes using audio from his speech.

As he spoke to the police this morning, wearing his fashion trademark hat, he said that if officers had other motives other than protecting the South African public, they can "walk out now".

Credit: The BBC