TRIGGER happy policemen must stop thinking that "shoot-to-kill" is a licence to kill, said Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa yesterday.
Mthethwa was visiting the family of Olga Kekana, 29, who was allegedly shot dead by the police after they mistook the car she was travelling in for one that had been reported hijacked.
Sophie Kgarake, 31, was shot in the abdomen and Andrew Singo, 27, was hit in the right hand and thigh on Sunday morning when police opened fire on them after mistaking them for hijackers.
SA Air Force pilot Simon Mathibela escaped the shooting unscathed.
"The police leadership has emphasised that trigger- happy members of the police must not think that this is a licence to kill. It is a measure aimed specifically at serious violent crime and dangerous criminals who place lives of police and the public in danger.
"These amendments are accompanied by the strengthening of the Independent Complaints Directorate. This will ensure that whatever approach we develop has in-built checks and balances to prevent abuse by police," said Mthethwa.
He said the leadership of the police regretted this unfortunate incident and expressed sympathy.
"We are here today to express our sincere condolences to the Kekana family following the unfortunate loss of the life of your daughter. The police have a duty to fight crime while protecting the lives of citizens, and this must be done within the boundaries of the law," he said.
Mthethwa emphasised that the SAPS would cooperate fully with the investigators of the ICD probing the circumstances of this incident.
"We call upon the public to give the ICD an opportunity to finalise their investigations. We also urge the public not to arrive at any unfounded conclusions pending these investigations by creating claims that this incident is a direct result of the government's proposed legislative changes to Section 49 of the Criminal Procedure Act," he said.
Meanwhile Anna Majavu reports that Cope has blamed President Jacob Zuma and Mthethwa for "actively inciting the police to murder at their discretion".
Cope MP Mluleki George told the National Assembly yesterday that Zuma and Mthethwa must "fully share in the blame" for Kekana's death.
George said Zuma was undermining the country's constitution.
"The executive cannot make its own laws. This will lead to a constitutional crisis," said George.
DA MP Mike Waters said government had admitted that 75percent of police do not receive shooting training.
"We have trigger happy politicians encouraging police to shoot-to-kill. while failing to ensure that our police officers are trained to shoot," said Waters.