Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Cele calls for police killings to stop

Cele calls for police killings to stop
2011-07-27 18:45

Johannesburg - National police commissioner General Bheki Cele called for a stop to the killing of policemen as Reiger Park officers search for the person who killed their colleague, 44-year-old Warrant Officer Mxolisi Mdutyana on Wednesday.

His spokesperson Colonel Vishnu Naidoo said that when he was told of Mdutyana's murder, Cele's reaction was: "When will this stop?"

Mdutyana was shot and killed at the Joe Slovo informal settlement in Reiger Park on Wednesday morning while he and a constable were on patrol in the area.

The men were on their way to the station when a woman ran to them and said two men were pointing a gun at her.

The officers approached the men who then ran in different directions. The officers separated and pursued them.

Gauteng provincial spokesperson Captain Katlego Mogale said the constable ran down the road and the warrant officer ran into a lane between shacks.

"Moments later, the constable heard shots and returned to investigate. He found the warrant officer lying in a pool of blood."

He was declared dead at the scene by paramedics, Mogale said.

Hands off our cops

Cele said: "I want to make another appeal to the people of South Africa to help stop the murder of police officers. The time has come for communities to say 'HANDS OFF our cops'...

"The police officers that are being killed are spouses, parents, siblings and children but also - importantly - they are from your community trying to keep you safe", he said in a statement.

Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa's spokesperson Zweli Mnisi said a programme to address the police killings would be shared publicly on Friday, following a recent conference on the subject.

"These heartless criminals who murder our cops have, for all intentions declared themselves enemies of the State and the law-abiding citizens; and it is our resolve that we shall end these killings. We have the support of millions of South Africans [who] are saying: enough is enough!" said Mnisi.

Stiffer penalties

The ANC said the continued killing of police officers was no longer just a matter for Mthethwa and Cele, but a huge societal challenge.

"The ANC calls on society to strengthen such structures as street and area committees, community policing forums and other organs of civil society to collaborate with [SA Police Service] in an effort to stamp out these heinous acts against police officers."

Stiffer penalties were needed for those finally apprehended for such shootings, and South Africans needed to focus on ways of bringing the killings to a "screeching halt".

They sent condolences to Mdutyana's family and said: "Television images of killed police officers and their families going through the trauma of dealing with deaths, is disturbing enough.

"It is about time the killings should come to a stop in the same way we brought down the heinous policy of apartheid to a screeching halt."

Protect the protectors

On Tuesday, Cele visited the families of warrant officers Lefu Petrus Mokoena, 45, and Bhekuyise Mboneni Mahlalela, 47, after they were shot dead in Vosloorus.

The Star reported that their deaths brought to 53 the number of policemen killed since January.

"Communities, business, NGO's, religious and other leaders as well as the media have already pledged their support in combating this heinous scourge," Cele said.

"But obviously much more will have to be done - and soon - to protect the protectors.

"The statistics of murder on police officers in 2011 are frighteningly high and a concerted effort must be made to ensure that the numbers do not go into triple digits shortly."

Cele and Mthethwa will brief the media on Friday in Pretoria on their approach to police killings.


Read more on: crime | police | zweli mnisi | bheki cele | nathi mthethwa

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