Men and women in blue are for the people, not against them, Mashaba tells prayer service for slain JMPD officers

2018-06-15 19:56

South Africans must understand that police officers are for the people, not against them, said City of Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba.

He was speaking at a prayer service for slain Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD) officers in Soweto on Friday afternoon.

He said he was very concerned about the breakdown of the rule of law across the country.

"Ladies and gentlemen, like many of you, I grew up in a time of political oppression and the police were the main agents tasked with the responsibility of enforcing oppression," he said.

While the police might have been unwelcome in the country's townships and villages in the past, this should change, Mashaba said.

"We no longer live under political oppression, but in a democratic dispensation," he said, calling for the protection of officers.

Six JMPD officers killed

The service was led by the Anglican Church of Resurrection's Archdeacon Oupaki Maruthane and Dean Jeremiah Mphehli Mankga, who prayed for the safety of police officers and blessed them with holy water.

Emotional officers queued down the church aisle for the clergymen to lay their hands on them.

JMPD chief David Tembe said six officers had lost their lives in the line of duty since the start of 2018.

He said God could help the officers and that was why the service was important.

"The City cannot afford to keep on losing so many of its policemen and women, and it is necessary to increase the self-protection awareness and ability of policemen and women through improved training and better equipment," Tembe said.

The JMPD choir and brass band led the congregation in song and dance as the speakers took the podium.

Respect for officers

The spiritual service was also attended by member of the mayoral committee for public safety councillor Michael Sun.

Sun said they continued to pray for the safety of officers and residents of Johannesburg and acknowledged the work being done by JMPD officers.

He said Johannesburg residents were slowly but surely beginning to trust the City again because of the administration as well as the JMPD.

"Slowly but surely, I see the faith of our residents," Sun said.

He said while they appreciated the prayer service, attention also had to be paid to the restoration of respect for officers.

"I want to urge the community that we not only pray together, but also need to act together. This is our City, so when residents see something they must report it," Sun said.

Read more on:    da  |  jmpd  |  herman mashaba  |  johannesburg  |  crime

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