- The memorial service for an Eastern Cape police officer killed on duty has been held in Dutywa.
- The 38-year-old was shot when robbers allegedly opened fire on a police vehicle.
- He died in hospital the day after the shooting.
A slain police officer has been described as both humble and passionate about the safety of his community.
The memorial service for Eastern Cape police officer Sergeant Nyameko Mbelani, who was killed in the line of duty, was held on Thursday.
The husband and father from Cafutweni in Centane was stationed at the Dutywa police station.
During the service, Amathole district commissioner Brigadier Ngangema Xakavu thanked the Mbelani family "for borrowing the SAPS such a dedicated member".
Mbelani, 38, died in hospital in Dutywa on the morning of 1 June after being shot the day before.
"On Monday, 31 May at about 02:17, SAPS members were busy patrolling on the N2 Idutywa national road when they received a call about a business robbery that was in progress (at a filling station)," police spokesperson Brigadier Tembinkosi Kinana said.
Kinana said as the police officers responded and drove toward the filling station, they were met by a hail of bullets from the attackers.
Mbelani, who was one of two officers in the police vehicle, was shot in the upper body. He was rushed to a nearby hospital in a critical condition and died the following day.
Six people have since been taken into custody, while two are still on the run.
Mbelani will be laid to rest on Saturday in Cafutweni, Centane.
At the memorial service, acting Dutywa police station commander Lieutenant Colonel Mphetshethwa said the police station had lost a humble person. He described Mbelani as "eager to ensure that the community is safe".
"It is not only SAPS that is saddened by this [tragedy] but also the community because he was known as a disciplined police official," he added.