Cabinet to do 'whatever possible' to strengthen police stations

2018-03-01 12:50
Minister of Police Bheki Cele (GCIS)

Minister of Police Bheki Cele (GCIS)

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Cape Town – President Cyril Ramaphosa's new Cabinet has committed to strengthening the capacity of South Africa's police stations, following the massacre at the Ngcobo police station in the Eastern Cape.

New Communications Minister Nomvula Mokonyane – the fourth communications minister in the last 12 months – held her first post-Cabinet briefing in Parliament on Thursday.

Ramaphosa's new Cabinet met for the first time on Wednesday to discuss pressing issues facing the country.

On the Ngcobo massacre – where five police officers were killed in an attack on the police station – Cabinet expressed its condolences to the families of the victims.

ALSO READ: Bheki Cele: 'We can't continue to bury police officers'

"The loss of one police officer, soldier or any other person who serves to protect society and our people is unacceptable," Mokonyane said.

"Cabinet has committed, through the [new] Minister of Police (Bheki Cele), to do whatever possible to capacitate our police stations to prevent such attacks in the future."

It condemned the "senseless killings", and appealed to parents and society to ensure children were kept safe, and to partner with law enforcement agencies to protect people, "even in places of worship".

Following the attack, seven people – who were hiding in the Mancoba Seven Angels Ministries Church in the area – were involved in a shootout with a police task team on Friday.

The church is currently under investigation.

'Permanent crime scene'

Cele on Wednesday delivered his first statement to the National Assembly on the killings.

Cele said the church would remain a "permanent crime scene" for the time being.

"For now, we have no church. It is a crime scene," he said.

"If it [doesn’t] remain a church, it will perish as a criminal crime scene."

He said that five of the 37 who were arrested had confessed that the plan was to use police guns to rob an ATM across from the station.

ALSO READ: New Police Minister Cele rushes to Ngcobo to 'join the force'

The eight had identified the police station as a place to get firearms.

A ninth police weapon was recovered on Tuesday night, out of a total of 10, he said.

Cele brought his customary no-nonsense style to the proceedings, promising swift action against those who plotted similar attacks on police officials in future.

"We want to make it very clear that SAPS is not an undertaker company. We resist burying our members," he told the House.

"I want to issue a strong warning. Any military engagement by the thugs engaging SAPS, there [will be] one side who gets buried after the engagement, and that side will not be the South African Police Service."

He finished his statement by praising the action of the special task team involved in the shootout, and encouraged police officers not to hesitate to "sort things out the right way".

Read more on:    parliament  |  saps  |  bheki cele  |  politics  |  police  |  ngcobo massacre

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