‘No more police deaths’

2017-07-13 06:00
Deputy Police Minister Bongani Mkongi(In grey suit), visited Lingelethu Police Station on Thursday. PhOTO: Vukile Sonandzi

Deputy Police Minister Bongani Mkongi(In grey suit), visited Lingelethu Police Station on Thursday. PhOTO: Vukile Sonandzi

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“No police officer should die with the tools of his trade at his disposalin hands,” Deputy Police Minister Bongani Mkongi has warned.

“We cannot celebrate the death of police officers and mourn the death of criminals,” he said during a visit to Khayelitsha’s Ilinge Lethu Police Station on Thursday, a week after a policeman was shot in the face there.

According to reports a gunman brazenly walked into the station and opened fire, hitting the policeman in the face. He survived.

The incident took place in the last week of June.

Three suspects entered the station, ostensibly to report a robbery when one of them shot the sergeant in the face. Police returned fire, but the suspects fled.

Mkongi said: “I came here to support the police who were shot at by thugs who wanted to rob state property, the firearms that they use to terrorise communities; kill our people and kill the police,” he said.

He was due to assess the Lingelethu West police station and determine if there were ways to make the station safer.

He said Police Minister Fikile Mbalula- who is attending the International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol) Congress in Singapore-, and, following his return, will meet in Pretoria to table his(Mkongi’s) findings of the inspection and discuss a way forward.

Ndithini Thyido, chairperson of the Khayelitsha Development Forum, said the community needed more police resources, with locals just recently calling for two additional stations.

“We can never mobilise them to come when the little we have is being attacked by criminals,” he said.

“The nature of the attack talks more to us as a community being flat-footed.

“We have allowed criminals to take over our streets.

“ It’s a wake-up call for us because we can’t allow three criminals to be brazen [enough to attack] a police station.”

While the police have the responsibility to deal with crime, residents had the responsibility to protect those who serve them, Thyido said.

“We hope for a day where one officer can go and respond to a domestic violence [call out] without being attacked.

The number of [officers] at the station is immaterial, as far as we are concerned.

“If there is a shortage of resources, surely these must be directed at servicing us as communities as opposed to having more resources guarding police stations.”

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