Sne Masuku

Sne Masuku

Outraged MEC for transport, community safety and liaison Bheki Cele has urged police officers not to die with guns in their holsters but "to shoot to kill" criminals.

This was after another senior KwaZulu-Natal cop was killed in the line of duty, bringing to two the number of top "crime fighters" killed in six days.

Senior Superintendent France Bothma, 44, was stationed at Inanda police station, north of Durban, and seconded to the provincial task team.

He was shot and killed in KwaMashu's K-section at about 7pm on Tuesday during a crime prevention operation.

A statement issued by Cele's department yesterday, said Bothma's killing followed the "orchestrated killing" last week of one of the province's senior officers, Superintendent Zethembe Chonco, who was stationed at KwaDukuza.

Police yesterday offered a reward of R200000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Bothma's killers.

Bothma was killed in an exchange of gunfire between the police and occupants of a VW Polo, which the officers suspected had been stolen.

The policemen are said to have noticed a black VW Polo that aroused their suspicions.

They then pulled up behind the vehicle, which had three occupants.

Police spokesman Jay Naicker said the officers instructed the occupants to get out of the vehicle. While they were talking to the driver one of the suspects got out of the vehicle and opened fire on the policemen.

The police returned fire and the suspects fled.

"When the dust had settled the two policemen discovered that Bothma was fatally wounded," Naicker said.

He said Bothma was a seasoned officer with 26 years service .

His death has shocked his colleagues.

He has been described as a passionate policeman with very good people skills, a hard worker, mentor and leader.

"Though his death has come as a blow to the task team we hope to draw strength from the sacrifices he made to deal with criminals effectively," Naicker said.

He said the Durban organised crime unit was investigating a case of murder.

The suspects are still at large.