Widow calls for less police killings

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Pretoria - Livhuwami Bokwe has called for less police officers to be killed in the line of duty, saying it leaves an unbearable burden on their families.

Her husband, Constable Daniel Bokwe, was killed in October 2008 during a gun battle between police and criminals in Johannesburg, leaving her with three children to support and no financial assistance.

"When my husband passed away I was pregnant. He never had a chance to see his child," she said with tears welling in her eyes.

Bokwe was speaking to BuaNews during an emotional Commemoration Day at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, in honour of fallen police officers.

Describing her husband as a dedicated police officer who loved his job, the mother of three said she would never forget the pain inflicted by seemingly callous criminals.

"Although I have forgiven my husband's murderers, I plead to all criminals to have ubuntu and think about the children and families of police officials they kill," she said.

National Police Commissioner, Bheki Cele, said between 1 April 2008 and 31 March 2009, a total of 105 police officers were murdered throughout the country, 41 officers where on duty at the time.

This is a marginal decrease on the previous year's figures of 107 murders.

"The brutality against our members is alarming, hence this is an apt moment for government to tighten laws and policies in defence of the country's constitutional and legislative mandate," he said.

Commissioner Cele said the event was held to salute the determination and sacrifices made by police officers. "As we remember, honour and celebrate the lives of our fallen colleagues, we are reminded about their positive contribution in the fight against crime."

He told the friends and family gathered at the event that government would continue to hold fallen SAPS members in high esteem.

Police Minister Mthethwa said government had developed various programmes aimed at protecting police officers against the brutality of criminals.

He told reporters that the review of Section 49 and 26 of Criminal Procedure Act would be a step forward in protecting police officers on duty and also give police greater powers to stop domestic violence.

"When a police official dies in the line of duty it is a tragedy which affects us all. We must reassure the families of the deceased that we will never forget the men and women who have paid the ultimate prices," the minister said.

The Commissioner, Minister Mthethwa, his deputy Fikile Mbalula and other senior police officers as well as family, friends and collogues laid wreaths in honour of fallen men and women in blue.