Police officers’ deaths a loss to the nation

Sunday, February 3, 2019

The deaths of two police officers who died when they were responding to an alleged cash-in-transit heist in KwaZulu-Natal is a huge loss to the South African Police Service (SAPS), says the Portfolio Committee on Police.

“The SAPS lost highly trained members who were at the forefront in the fight against violent crime. It is a big loss to our nation,” Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Police Francois Beukman said in a statement on Sunday.

On Friday night, nine people died - including two police officers - in northern KwaZulu-Natal during a shootout between police and a gang of alleged cash-in-transit robbers.

Members of the SAPS Special Task Force (STF) and Crime Intelligence (CI) were following up on intelligence that a cash-in-transit (CIT) vehicle was going to be attacked.

“At about 7pm a group of heavily armed suspects attacked the security vehicle and used explosives to access the cash along Hlabisa Road. However, members from SAPS team, the SFT and CI responded speedily which resulted in a shootout between them and the robbers,” the SAPS said.

The committee expressed its condolences to the families of the police members and wished the member of the SAPS who was injured during the incident a speedy recovery.

“They paid the highest price to ensure that ordinary South Africans do not become the victims of brazen criminality.

“The committee is of the firm view that more resources should be allocated to the specialised units who need to deal with highly trained and heavy-armed cash-in-transit robbers and other high risk operations,” the statement said.

The committee said the resources should be used in the procurement of appropriate communication, technological and satellite cover, and air-support for the specialised units and crime-combatting units.

“The resources are necessary to enable the units to deal with the complex task that they face every day. The specialised units of the SAPS face life-threatening and dangerous situations daily and all necessary steps should be taken from a budgetary, logistical and training perspective to support them appropriately,” Beukman said.

The committee said it will support an increase in the budget for the sub-programme Specialised Interventions of SAPS that was allocated R4.3 billion in the current financial year.

“The increase in unconventional crime incidents with heavily armed perpetrators requires a re-look at modus operandi and resource allocation,” the committee said. – SAnews.gov.za