Deputy Police Minister Fikile Mbalula on Wednesday announced details of a community programme which, if its name is taken literally, aims to send criminals running for the nearest toilet.
"In the coming months, we will launch 'Operation Wanya Tsotsi' as a popular mobilisation programme, mobilising communities against crime in all its manifestations," he told MPs in the National Assembly.
Speaking during debate on his department's budget vote, he said the operation's name was a "radical African expression and display of strength and zealousness against one's enemy".
But according to an isiXhosa language specialist, who asked not to be named, an exact translation of the term is: "You will shit, criminal!"
The expert told Sapa that a less literal though more polite interpretation might be: "You are in deep trouble, criminal!"
Mbalula said Operation Wanya Tsotsi would be community-led, and based on the "strategic isolation of criminals" and those who harboured them.
"It is a weapon to instill fear and respect to one's strategic opponent. It is an expression of readiness of one's forces of war. It is a strength exhibition! It is a war cry!
"This operation will also ensure that those who thrive on selling and buying stolen goods face the full might of the law.
"It will entail a practical roll-out of 'Reject and Report Stolen Goods' campaign, which continues to make an impact on the reduction of crime and enjoys the support of communities in the provinces where it has been implemented," he said. - Sapa