Police Killings

/sites/default/files/images/gcis/Getrude.Sadiki.JPGBy Getrude Sadiki

In August 2023, Norman Sekhukhune, the head of police crime research and statistics, told Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Police that 31 police officers were killed between April and June 2023. This was almost double the number of officers killed by criminals during the same period in 2022.

Statistics like these are shocking and completely unacceptable. The loss of even one police officer, soldier or any other person who serves to protect society and our citizens is unacceptable.  

Members of the SAPS form part of the thin blue line that strives to serve and protect our citizens. They are often the first point of contact when South Africans need help or assistance, and we are striving to restore citizens’ trust in the police and the criminal justice system. 

Regrettably, this trust is sometimes broken by unscrupulous officers who take bribes or abuse their power for personal gain. However, we need to acknowledge that most police officers are honest, hardworking and strive to uphold the rule of law and maintain stability in partnership with communities.  

The work done by members of the SAPS often goes unnoticed, but it is critical in keeping our streets and our communities safe. Everyday members of the SAPS put their lives on the line to keep us safer and sometimes they pay the ultimate price for their bravery and dedication in the line of duty. 

We cannot have a society where criminal elements are free to act with impunity, and actively work to undermine efforts to ensure the stability of the country.  As government, nothing will stop us to investigate and prosecute those who seek to harm the protectors of our society. An attack on the police constitutes an attack on the State and our nation. 

We are also resolute in ensuring that the police and security personnel are equipped to act decisively, and in accordance with the law and the Constitution. When addressing mourners and police officers at the funeral of Sergeant Kedimetse Masilo in the North West in August 2023, Police Minister Bheki Cele urged police officers to act first and to use proportional force in the line of duty.

"Be vigilant and operationally ready to act in any circumstances. If force is required, it must at all times be necessary, reasonable and proportional. I plead with you, don't die with the resources and tools that we have given you," he said. 

These haunting words by the Police Minister are a stark reminder of the trying circumstances police face in the line of duty.  We call on everyone to support the police as they go about the difficult task of providing safety and security for all, and one way we can assist is to collaborate with the police in the fight against crime. 

We should always remember that criminals thrive in communities where their actions are tolerated. Simply ignoring criminals acts is not the solution since it emboldens them Instead, we should work together to stamp out crime wherever it resides.

As government, we will continue to champion initiatives that will mobilise all in society to work together towards a better and safer South Africa, and we firmly believe that fighting crime is a shared responsibility between the police, the community and the business sector.

We call on the public to assist SAPS members in performing their duties by joining Community Police Forums, which ensure constant liaison between communities and the police. By becoming active in our communities, we can take back our streets from criminals.

One of the ways we can all act is to report criminal activities and instances of crime; through our actions, we can isolate criminals and ensure that they have no place to hide. Report crime to your local police station or call the Crime Stop toll-free number at 08600 10111. This Crime Stop service is available 24 hours a day to anyone who wants to report criminals and their activities over the phone. The caller may choose to remain anonymous. 

We call on responsible citizens to partner with police to get rid of criminals who want to reverse the progress we have made since 1994. Our history shows that there is no challenge we cannot overcome, therefore let us make it our duty to create safer communities and protect victims of crimes.  This community partnership   can ensure that perpetrators face justice and crime can be effectively controlled.