Cabinet alarmed over police killings

2011-05-26 13:36
Cape Town - The Cabinet has expressed its alarm at the steady rise in the number of police officers killed by criminal elements, government spokesperson Jimmy Manyi said on Thursday.

Briefing the media following the executive's regular Wednesday fortnightly meeting, he said the Cabinet had issued a stern warning that any person found guilty of such criminal behaviour would be dealt with by the full might of the law.

"Cabinet also calls on all South Africans to contribute towards building a safer and more secure society by partnering with the police and reporting any criminal activity," he said.

Statistics

Earlier this week, the SA Human Rights Commission condemned the killing of police officers in the line of duty, saying it undermined the proper functioning of the criminal justice system.

"A proper, functioning criminal-justice system is one of the key requirements in the protection of human rights and the stability of the country's democracy," said commission spokesperson Vincent Moaga.

This year alone, reports indicate an increase in the number of slain officers, with the number standing at 32 dead since January.

Other statistics show that about 109 police officers were killed between 2008 and 2009 while 110 were killed between 2009 and 2010.

On Sunday, two police officers, Warrant Officer Gurswin Matthee and Constable Cannon Cloete, were killed while attending to a crime call in Kraaifontein, in the Western Cape.

Three days earlier, Captain Sydney Bongani Hlengwa and Constable Zamikhaya Patrick Hlangulela from Creighton, in Durban, were killed during a raid.

'Totally unacceptable'


The SA Police Union (Sapu) said the killings were "totally unacceptable and can never be tolerated". It called for an urgent national summit on the matter.

"The latest incidents in the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal make it beyond any doubt that this summit should be held within the shortest possible time," said Sapu general secretary Oscar Skommere.

The summit would allow stakeholders to come up with strategies and policies to curb the killings.

Sapu also wanted to propose the introduction of tough legislation to curb the killings.

"We would like suspects in all police attack-related cases to be denied bail and those ultimately found guilty to be given lengthy prison terms," Skommere said.

He said Sapu would seek an urgent meeting with the Minister of Police Nathi Mthethwa with the intention of organising a summit.

- SAPA
Read more on:    police
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