Increased police killings cause concern
THE Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) has expressed concern at the increasing number of police killings in the wake of the murders of at least five police officers this month alone.
On Wednesday, two police officers were killed.
Bheki Simelane, 58, was killed in what is suspected to be a hit, as his police-issue gun and other valuables were left untouched by the killers who fled in a red sedan.
Simelane, who held the rank of captain, was gunned down outside his home in Phoenix, north of Durban, yesterday around 6.30am.
In Gauteng, an officer was killed on Wednesday and two last week.
Popcru spokesperson Richard Mamabolo said they had seen the battle for the soul of law enforcement in the past two years, when more than 80 police officers lost their lives while on duty.
In the 201617 financial year, 57 police officers lost their lives – 31 of them killed on duty.
“This creates doubt and fear among communities. We reiterate our call to all police officers that they can no longer die with their firearms in their hands,” Mamabolo said.
He said any criminal who lifted a gun at a police officer must be countered with decisiveness.
“We have grown tired of having many widowed wives and orphaned children within the police service,” Mamabolo said.
He said the R250 000 pension that goes to the children and families of the deceased officers has been shown not to be sufficient in taking them through their schooling.
“It is a point which needs further observation,” he said.
Popcru discussed these and other issues at its national executive committee meeting in Johannesburg which ended yesterday.
Last week, the acting national police commissioner, Lt-Gen Khomotso Phahlane, called on anyone with information that could assist the police in apprehending those responsible for the attacks and murders to come forward.
In the first incident on Friday, an officer was fatally wounded on duty by unknown gunmen in Soshanguve.
His colleague was wounded and is recovering in a local hospital.
In another incident, an off duty officer was shot and killed in Soweto on the same day.
The circumstances surrounding his death are still under investigation.
“We appeal to anyone with information to anonymously call the Crime Stop hot line on 08600 10111 or SMS the Crime Line anonymously on 32211,” Phahlane said.
The office of the provincial commissioner in Gauteng is investigating two cases of murder and one of attempted murder.
“Every police officer killed leaves the community more vulnerable. Together we must take a firm stand against police killings,” he said.
We have grown tired of having many widows and orphaned children within the police service
GRAVE CONCERN: Popcru spokesperson Richard Mamabolo says more than 80 police officers lost their lives in the past two years.