Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition)

Six police officers murdered every month in SA

- GENEVIEVE SERRA genevieve.serra@inl.co.za

POLICE and Prison Civil Rights Union (Popcru) is encouragin­g police officers to work in larger groups following the killings of 67 officers this year, making it nearly six murders a month.

This week two officers were shot and killed in the Western Cape.

Lieutenant-Colonel Siyabulela Vukubi, of The Hawks, confirmed that 30-year-old suspect Mpumzi Nompetshen­i made an appearance in court earlier this week and was expected back in the dock on October 12 for his formal bail applicatio­n.

He is facing a murder charge for the death of a 29-year-old policewoma­n on October 1 in Mfuleni.

Earlier this week, Police Minister Bheki Cele and National Police Commission­er General Fannie Masemola led a delegation to the family of Warrant Officer Lindela Mraqisa who was shot and killed with four others in

Gugulethu over the weekend.

During a press conference earlier this week, Cele said there were 100 murders in one week in the province.

Police Oversight and Community Safety MEC Reagen Allen said police stations which had the most homicides included Gugulethu with a police-to-population ratio of 1:874; Delft, 1:784; Harare, 1:773; Kraaifonte­in, 1:740; and Mfuleni, 1:581.

Allen said the Western Cape was in need of additional officers with 105 935 on duty.

“The granted establishm­ent for the Western Cape is 21 367, but as at the 2020/21 financial year, this stood at 19 505,” he said.

Earlier this week, Popcru president Dr Zizamele Cebekhulu-Makhaza said they were in agreement with the age limit of recruitmen­t of officers which was changed from 30 to 35 years for the 2024/25 period, which would increase the number of 187 000 nationally.

“There have been other attempts to place more boots on the ground in the past,” Cebekhulu-Makhaza said in an opinion piece.

“With depleted resources already crippling the SAPS in its task agreement, creating more opportunit­ies for trainees to enter the service will go a long way towards alleviatin­g the demand and bridging the gap in the police-to-population ratio.

Cebekhulu-Makhaza added that the depleting numbers left the police struggling to combat crime.

Richard Mamabolo, spokespers­on for Popcru said the attacks on officers were a huge concern: “We have on record that there have been 67 police officers killed since the beginning of the year, and the numbers keep growing.

“The review and amendments of certain acts, including the Criminal Procedure Act, are on our radar, and the declaring of police killings as treasonous. In the short term, we encourage officers to try to work in larger groups, be wary of their surroundin­gs and act decisively when in danger.”

Provincial police spokespers­on Brigadier Novela Potelwa said further scrutiny of the pattern suggested while most police officials were attacked while executing their duties, a considerab­le number suffered attack off-duty.

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