Police minister Bheki Cele has urged police officers to act decisively when confronted by criminals and not to compromise their own safety.
Addressing a police parade in Mthatha in the Eastern Cape at the start of the safer festive season inspection tour on Tuesday, Cele warned of the desperation of some criminals who would not hesitate to end the life of a police officer in pursuit of what they want.
“Police officers, you are the country’s assets, you are useful to the country when you are alive and well. I’m making a call to all of you this festive season, while enforcing the law, protect yourself as stipulated by the law.
“Simply put, when confronted by gun-toting criminals, don’t hesitate, because when a criminal pulls a gun on you, the only thing that will follow is you getting shot and possibly being killed,” Cele said.
According to the national crime statistics for the 2020/2021 financial year, 80 police officers were killed on and off duty, the police ministry said.
It said 17 members were killed in the Eastern Cape, the second highest figure after KwaZulu-Natal, which accounted for 21 police murders.
The inspection tour was in Mthatha on Tuesday where Cele, deputy minister Cassel Mathale, national police commissioner Gen Khehla Sitole and SAPS senior management assessed the province’s operational plan for the holiday season.
The ministry said the eighth leg of the tour moves to the Northern Cape on Wednesday and to KwaZulu-Natal on Thursday.