South Africa’s Police Minister, Bheki Cele, has charged police operatives in the country to respond decisively when confronted by criminals and use deadly force to defend themselves.
The charge follows attacks and killings of at six police officers in South Africa in the last ten days.
Cele who was speaking at the burial of Constable Ndlovu, who was shot and killed while responding to a domestic violence incident, said the latest police killings have left those in the service shocked and shaken.
He said: “ 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.”
The Minister further 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 further condemned the loss of civilian life, due to ongoing gang violence in the Western Cape Province.
He said:“ 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. 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.
“ it is alleged that unknown suspects opened fire at the group and fled the scene on foot. We are calling on communities to also step up their fight against crime by providing information that can assist in police investigations.
Cele, however called on communities to intensify their fight against crime.
“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.” – Cele concluded.