Two police officers, believed to be part of a Post Office break-in on Wednesday evening in Dalton, KwaZulu-Natal were shot and killed when they opened fire on patrolling law enforcement officers, police say.
The police officers – a male sergeant and female constable – were spotted by a team comprising the Hawks, the National Intervention Unit and others, while conducting operations in the area, national police spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo said.
"At about 02:30, the team was on the road between Greytown and Dalton when they spotted a police patrol vehicle approaching them," said Naidoo.
When the team tried to flag them down, the sergeant in the patrol vehicle "allegedly opened fire on the team, which had to return fire," said Naidoo.
Both police officers were killed in the shootout.
An angle grinder, jackhammer and other implements and items such as ink-stained cash were found inside the patrol vehicle.
"It is believed that the cash may have been stolen from the Dalton Post Office earlier," added Naidoo.
National police commissioner General Khehla Sitole has expressed utter disappointment in the alleged involvement of police in the crime.
"The involvement of police officers in criminal activities will never be tolerated," said Sitole.
Sitole said he has directed a thorough investigation into the matter.
"All persons involved, including police officers, must be brought to book," he said.