- Fallen police officers have been commemorated at an annual event, held at the Union Buildings in Pretoria and at venues around the country.
- The names of the 39 police officers and one police reservist who died in the line of duty have been inscribed on the National Memorial Wall at the South African Police Memorial.
- Many of the officers commemorated had succumbed to Covid-19, said Police Minister Bheki Cele.
The commemoration of 40 police officers who died in the line of duty has taken place at venues around the country, as Covid-19 regulations prevented the traditional send-off held by the South African Police Service.
The names of the 39 police members and one police reservist have been inscribed on the National Memorial Wall at the South African Police Memorial.
The annual event at the Union Buildings on Sunday was attended by a limited number of dignitaries, and the families of three Gauteng-based police officers who had died in the past year. The families of the remaining 37 officers attended events in their provinces.
Many of the 40 officers "succumbed to the virus while on the front lines", said Police Minister Bheki Cele at the event.
"This virus has robbed us, as the police service, of our tradition to bid the men and women of the law [farewell], with a befitting official SAPS send-off," he said.
"The virus robs us of an opportunity to come together in our collective loss and comfort each other as the SAPS and the families of our fallen members."
In attendance was Deputy President David Mabuza, who said it was a serious concern that police officers were killed by people resisting arrest.
"It is highly disturbing that police officers lose their lives in stop-and-search operations and are sometimes murdered for their firearms. As we know, criminal elements thereafter use these stolen firearms to commit serious and violent crimes," Mabuza said.
Mabuza added that the Police Safety Strategy had been reviewed in 2019, with the aim of implementing proactive preventative and reactive measures to ensure the safety of police officers.
"Furthermore, the South African Police Service is enhancing [the] skills of its members through training in support of the Police Safety Strategy, with the aim of minimising attacks on police members," he said.
Cele said: "The deaths of these 40 members should not be in vain. Their loss should remind us all of the importance of community policing partnerships and the need for all of us to be active in the fight against crime."
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