Unity needed to eradicate police killings, says Mthethwa

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Pretoria - South Africans need to revive the spirit of the brotherhood and sisterhood as the country comes together to put an end to police killings, says Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa.

Speaking at a Summit on Police Killings in KwaZulu-Natal, Mthethwa said the killing of even one police officer was cause for concern.

Since the beginning of the year, 15 police officers have been killed in KwaZulu-Natal.

"This has reached proportional and unacceptable levels. In fact, even if one police officer has been killed, we would still be increasingly worried," the minister said.

Noting that the majority of South Africans were determined to help police eradicate crime, Mthethwa said: "Now is the time to revive this spirit of brotherhood and sisterhood in stopping these killings."

Partnerships between civil society, government and communities were needed to counter criminal elements, the minister stressed.

Police training methods and the severity of sentences handed down to cop killers would also need to be explored as the relevant parties sought ways to eradicate the killings, he said.

The root causes of the problem had to be identified and addressed.

"It will definitely serve no purpose in dealing with the symptoms of the problem and ignore the root cause, and come back tomorrow to complain about the same problem.

"We must know that this is what we are doing so that whatever plans we are coming up with, we know and check and say that our approach is orderly or not, or we need to make changes."

He said the "mauling" of police officers were cowardice acts by criminals who were feeling the pinch as police closed in on them.

He noted that police were in the process of implementing a 10-Point Plan to seek, from all sectors of society, solutions to put an end to police killings.

The plan would address the challenges, while at the same time put an immediate end to the killings, the minister added.

"One cop killing is one too many. Criminal acts, including killing of police officers, deny and take away the most elementary human rights from law-abiding citizens," Mthethwa said.

He said the rights of law abiding citizens should not be superseded by the rights of criminals, noting that there had been calls for authorities to intensify the war against police killings by revisiting the type of punishment given to those responsible for killings.

"The recent attacks and killings of our police officers is a sad reminder to all of us to intensify our resolve in fighting crime with even more vigour. We dare not fail," he said.

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