POLICE KILLINGS THREATNING SOUTH AFRICA
By: Khetho Dlamini
The Department of Safety in Society is a pillar department in a democratic country.
The members of the South African Police Service (SAPS), are mandated by the Constitution to protect the people and fight crime.
All activities that they do should be in the best interest of the society. Lately, what is described as combating crime has earned the police nothing but has cost them their lives.
According to the SAPS statistics, in the 2014/2015 financial year 35 on-duty and 51 off-duty police officers were killed, working out to an average of just over 1.5 policemen killed per
The SAPS, Metro police and Traffic police collaborated in a march against police killing in Johannesburg last week.
Brakpan residents and other communities joined the march but a police member was shot dead in cold blood the next day.
Mutual respect between police and members of society is a bond that must be established to allow a free flow of police service.
“The SAPS serve the public and the public must meet the police half way because fighting crime and ensuring community safety is a two way process.
It is very saddening to witness our police dying while trying to protect the people of this country,” said Major General Paul
Gela, Gauteng Deputy Provincial Commissioner of the Operational Services.
These brutal killings have got other police thinking twice about their careers as police.
Some are afraid for their lives since they have suddenly become enemies of different communities.
Warrant Officer Elvuis Gedi, expressed a feeling of confusion because of these killings of his colleagues.
“I’m doubtful about the decision of going back to the SAPS. I want to change careers, but where will I get another job? Even qualified people can’t get jobs these days. I have a family
to feed,” said Gedi.
The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union, showed a great deal of concern for the men and women in blue. They said that there were no guarantees for police officers that they would
return home after work.
The SAPS was experiencing a shortage of police from last year since more and more new police units were introduced. They (SAPS) took members for training in May and some of
these members are ready to go to the various communities to serve.
Sandile Zulu, police trainee said, “Being police have always meant not being a favourite person to criminals. With the skills that we have acquired in the training academies and the
resources we have at our disposal, we can undoubtedly combat crime but remain very alert of anything that could possibly put our lives at risk.”
Members of the community feel that police do very little to protect themselves, and in some cases, they are killed as a result of retaliation by the public.
Thokozile Ndwandwe said, “I do not know much about the way the SAPS work but I believe that bullet proof vests are for protection. I do not remember the last time I saw a police
wearing one even out of the station.”
Police violence has in some way contributed to violence because the only alternative the members of the public utilise when dealing with the police.
“Police are killed as a result of retaliation because they sometimes treat people in an inhuman way which sometimes makes the (police) victims of assault and death in some cases,”
SAPS is still appealing to the public to work with the police and not against them into ensuring a safe environment for all.