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More than 1,000 people were arrested between Dec. 25 and Dec. 31 in Free State province under Operation Shanela, which was introduced by the South African Police Service (SAPS) in May last year to fight crime.

Operation Shanela comprises regular stop and searches, roadblocks and vehicle checkpoints, high visibility patrols, including foot patrols, tracing wanted murder and rape suspects and compliance inspections at liquor outlets and second-hand good dealers.

The SAPS revealed that it arrested 1,073 people for various crimes in the Free State. The government department said that it closed seven unlicensed illegal liquor premises and 97 illegal fireworks traders, following which the latter's stock was confiscated.

"Through stop and searches, 33 knives were confiscated, while 32 people were arrested for possession of dangerous weapons. Dangerous weapons such as knives and pangas were confiscated," the SAPS said, SA News reported.

Furthermore, 53 motorists were arrested for drunk driving, and 105 suspects were arrested for drug-related crimes, including possession of drugs such as mandrax, cocaine, crystal meth and methcathinone.

The department, which urged people to report any suspicious and criminal activities to Crime Stop on 08600 10111 or use the MySAPS app, also highlighted progress in the fight against illegal mining.

"The Illicit Mining Task Team is hard on duty in the area of Lejweleputswa and 26 suspects were arrested for illicit mining after others were found in possession of gold dust and illegal mining equipment," the department said.

"With that operation, 46 suspects were also brought to book after they were found to be contravening the Immigration Act," it added.

The police also seized three unlicensed firearms and ammunition, while arresting three people for the same. In addition, 15 more suspects were arrested for robberies, murder and attempted murder cases.

Last month, President Cyril Ramaphosa welcomed 1,400 new police recruits to strengthen the SAPS agency in the nation's fight against crime.

During the welcome ceremony, the president shared that the high-density operations under Operation Shanela across the country have led to over 250,000 arrests, seizure of more than 3,200 firearms and recovery of 1,700 stolen vehicles.

In addition, the police have made notable strides in tackling crimes like cash in transit heists, drug smuggling, illegal mining and protecting critical infrastructure.