Police Minister Bheki Cele has called for urgency when law enforcement officers are killed, saying that complacency would “normalise” their deaths.
“My problem is you cannot just kill a police officer as if nothing happened. I am told there are over 2 000 police in Durban but I cannot see them here. You cannot make a cop’s death normal. You cannot just kill two police officers and there is dead silence.”
He was speaking at the memorial service for Zephania Dladla and Nomasonto Mhlanga who were killed on Monday evening while performing protection duties for councillor Moses Zulu at his residence in Bhambayi near Phoenix.
Cele said he has been calling for stronger action against cop killers.
“I have been making this call and I am not about to stop. It should be treason to murder a police officer.”
He further called for the “alignment” of Metro Police and SAPS.
“SAPS gets a better funeral than metro does. Police officers must be police officers wherever they are, whatever job they are doing.”
He called on police to not “just play around with your tool of trade”.
“You must protect the innocent people of SA. If needs be, you must use deadly force. You must do that within the law. If you use this properly, you shall be defended by us [police seniors].”
Cele said he had “declared war” against those who attacked officers.
“We must fight. These officers were just doing their job.”
Metro police not personal assistants
He added that metro police officers were not personal assistants to politicians.
“I am making a call for conditions of our officers to be conducive to do their work. It is their job to look after your life. They are not girls and boys picking things from your drawers or giving you water. Respect these officers.”
Authorities made a breakthrough in the killing of the officers on in the early hours of Thursday morning when three suspects were nabbed in KwaMashu.
A fourth suspect is thought to have been wounded after a shootout with the police. He is under heavy police guard at a city hospital.
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