Murder of police officers should be regarded as treason: Cele

Sunday, September 2, 2018

The murder of police officers should be regarded as a treasonous act as it is an attack on the state, says Police Minister Bheki Cele. 

Cele made the remarks at the SAPS National Commemoration Day of the 28 police officers and one reservist who died in the line of duty during the 2017/18 financial year.

The event, which was held at the Union Buildings on Sunday, was attended by Cele, Police Deputy Minister Bongani Mkongi, Chairperson of the Parliament Police Portfolio Committee, Francois Buekman, SAPS leadership and the families of the late officers.

He said government must facilitate policy or law reform to define the murder of officers as a crime against the state and equal to treason, adding that an attack on police should be regarded as a double-crime.

He said the manner in which police officers were killed undermines the integrity of the state.

“It will make it impossible for those who murder police to see the sun again for the rest of their lives,” Cele said at the memorial service.

He said the safety and security of citizens, the prevention and combating of crime, requires interalia partnership between the police, communities and relevant stakeholders.

“As the cornerstone of this partnership, it would be prudent to have police officers who are highly motivated, competent and dedicated to their task to fight crime.”

Changing SAPS training curriculum

In intensifying the battle against the scourge, the Minister and the SAPS leadership, have agreed to change the training curriculum of police cadets. 

“Training will be intensified to the level of Tactical Response Teams and include a street-wise course for members to adapt to arising situations and respond adequately,” he said.

When a criminal thinks of taking on police, he said, “they must know that when that engagement ends, it won’t be the police officer down”. 

Honouring fallen officers

Honouring the fallen officers, he said: “The legacy that they have left will forever be honoured and remembered. Keeping people safe is our job and duty”.

He expressed concern at the rate at which police officers were being murdered. “Since I have taken over as Minister of Police in late February, every other weekend we are burying officers. We are attending memorials and funerals.”

Cele thanked President Cyril Ramaphosa and the Cabinet who have made the killing of officers an issue.

"We have been instructed to do much more than what we’ve done," he said.

Police Safety Month

With September being Police Safety Month, this year’s theme focuses gender-based violence.

Cele said South African men needed to protect women and children, calling for an emphasis to be made in the grooming of the boy-child.

“The boy-child seems to be forgetting that they have a responsibility of making sure that their young sisters are safe,” he said.

Policing an extraordinary calling

Acting National Commissioner Jacob Tsumane said the event was a solemn reminder of the high price police men and women pay for ensuring safety in South Africa.

“They were ordinary people who answered an extraordinary calling. Policing will never be a job or career like any other. It requires dynamic people with special skills and commitment.” 

He urged the families of the deceased to find solace in that their loved ones died for the advancement of the greater good. 

“We are with you and share your loss. We will always condemn any attack on any police official in the strongest terms possible. We will continue to pursue those who are guilty of this heinous crime,” said Tsumane. –