Killing a police officer should be treason: Bheki Cele

Minister of Police Bheki Cele.
Minister of Police Bheki Cele.

Killing a police officer should become a “crime against [the] state and equal to treason”.

“If they kill one of ours‚ they are taking the whole nation on.”

That is what police minister Bheki Cele said on Sunday at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

“They better be kept in a very‚ not too dark‚ but a dark place for the rest of their lives ... It must be really‚ really a fear of any criminal when the criminal thinks of taking [on] the police must know that when that engagement comes to an end‚ it won’t be the police officer who will be sleeping.”

Cele was speaking at the annual commemoration for police officers who died on duty. Between April 1 2017 and March 31 2018‚ 29 police officers died on the job. This is down from the previous financial year when 40 police officers died.

“I just wish and I just dream that this kind of an event one day comes to an end. We don’t come here to celebrate them‚ because no-one would have been killed.”

Cele said the police buried officers every other weekend since he became minister in February this year.

“The oldest of them that we have buried was 39-years [old] and the youngest was 22-years-old. It’s completely unsustainable.” Cele said gender-based violence was the top priority for the police this year.

“Gender-based violence [is] a profound and widespread problem in South Africa‚ impacting almost every aspect of life‚” said Cele.

“[We are] also further calling on society to start focusing more on the boy child which seems to be forgetting there is a responsibility of their sisters‚ their girlfriends are safe in the hands of the man.” (sic)

National police commissioner General Khehla Sitole said police officers killed by criminals infuriated and saddened him.

“The killing of a police official is an attack on the sovereignty of the state. It has a negative impact on service delivery and the fight against crime in the police‚ and has a destructive effect on the wellbeing and future of the families and children of the slain policemen and policewomen.”