NATIONAL NEWS - Police Minister Bheki Cele has expressed shock at the gunning down of two police officers in the Kraaifontein, in the Western Cape, on Saturday.
The murders now bring to six the number of police officers killed in the country in the last ten days.
In a statement issued on Sunday, the Police Ministry said the Kraaifontein station officers were shot and killed in an ambush while patrolling. They both died on the scene and were robbed of their official firearms.
These deaths come just days after four officers, three of whom were off-duty, were killed in KwaZulu-Natal.
Chatsworth officer Constable Ndlovu who was shot and killed while responding to a domestic violence incident, was laid to rest at the weekend.
While delivering the keynote address at the officers’ send-off, Cele told mourners that the latest police killings have left those in the service shocked and shaken.
“While it is a dark time for us in the police right now, we will not be deterred by these cowardly acts. Let me remind police officers that when they go out there to enforce law and order, the law is on your side to respond decisively when confronted by criminals and use deadly force to defend yourself,” said the Minister.
Cele reiterated his call for crimes committed against police to be met with harsher punishment, saying members in blue are national assets that must be protected at all cost. He also condemned the loss of civilian life due to ongoing gang violence in the Western Cape.
“On Friday, a teenager was shot and killed while sitting outside her home in Grassy Park in Cape Town. It is believed the 15-year-old was caught in a cross fire between rival gangs. A 24-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the murder,” reads the statement.
In Mitchells Plain, detectives are probing the shooting incident which left four male victims fatally wounded and one injured. The victims, aged 30, 36, 37 and 64 were gunned down at close range.
The Ministry said it is alleged that unknown suspects opened fire at the group and fled the scene on foot.
In the statement, Cele calls on communities to also step up their fight against crime by providing information that can assist in police investigations.
“While the onus lies on the police to prevent, combat and investigate crime, communities have a role to play in flushing out crime, as the criminals committing these heinous acts come from the communities we serve, so the time to improve community and police relations is now and by doing so, I am confident that we can sanitise our streets of criminality and all its formations,” said the Minister. – SAnews.gov.za