- Police Minister Bheki Cele said police must use force within the ambit of the law, following the brutal murder of two KZN cops.
- The officers, who were also a couple, had been visiting family members over the weekend before they were shot and killed.
- Cele said officers should not die with their guns unused.
Police Minister Bheki Cele has called for the capture of criminals who shot dead two off-duty police officers in KwaZulu-Natal.
"We took an approach, we don't have an option of finding or not finding them, we have one option, we have to find them dead or alive," he said on Thursday.
Cele was speaking at the home of slain officer Sergeant Makhosaze Mdlangathi, who was killed together with his soon to be wife, Sergeant Mfikelwa Mtolo. They were stationed at the Plessislaer and Richmond Police Stations respectively.
The couple were ambushed before being shot dead in Taylor's Halt outside Pietermartizburg.
Relatives told media the happy couple had visited their respective families during the day and were headed home when they were murdered.
One family member described the scene, saying "the hazard lights were on" as they walked up to the vehicle.
WATCH: 'We have to find them, dead or alive' - Police Minister Bheki Cele after the murder of off-duty cops Sergeant Makhosaze Mdlangathi and Sergeant Mfikelwa Mtolo. The duo are a couple who were gunned down after visiting family in Taylor's Halt, KZN. @News24 @TeamNews24 pic.twitter.com/tTbZCibe3F— Kaveel Singh (@kaveels) February 25, 2021
Cele said that, with the death of the couple, KZN lost four officers in quick succession over the past few weeks. Police in the province were under siege, he said.
"You can't have four police that are in a mortuary and it becomes normal and you don't think you are under siege. Whether they die on or off duty, it tells you that you are under siege."
He said the Western Cape and KZN were particularly violent.
"We thought we are limiting the number of police that are killed, but this province and Western Cape are quite hostile when it comes to policing matters.
"We need to give extra [attention] on them, but also the communities must help us. I must bow to the other communities because they have assisted us in many other incidents where we have managed to find the killers. We ask the communities to continue to assist."
He further called on officers to use their weapons in the line of duty.
"I am calling on police like I always do, police don't have to with their guns at hand. That's a call we will forever make. Sometimes we are called bloodthirsty [for saying this]."
Cele, however, cautioned that officers must use force within the ambit of the law.
"[They must do this] within the law that allows police to defend themselves decisively, we will have to work on that; we make that call [to work on police safely using force] as management and leadership of police.
"We will have to equip them to be forever vigilant wherever they are. Criminals have taken a decision that police will be their enemies."
He said police were following up leads regarding the officers' murders, but would not reveal more.
"We have a few pointers. We hope they lead us to where we need to be."