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2023/06/12      |  Written By:  Brigadier A Mathe   |   Province:  Free State

Pretoria: 11 June 2023 - The National Commissioner of the South African Police Service(SAPS), General Fannie Masemola has commended Free State police for the swift arrest of two suspects linked to the killing of a detective commander attached to the Villiers Police Station.

The two suspects were arrested within 24 hours since the commission of the crime, and are believed to be part of a gang who hijacked a truck along the N3 near Villiers on Friday, 09 June 2023, at about 03:00. 48-year-old Warrant Officer Johannes Du Rand traced the hijacked truck but was sadly shot and killed by the  armed suspects. At time of his death, the member had 29 years service.

On Saturday, the National Commissioner led a delegation of senior officers to the home of the late member to commit the organisations support to the grieving family. In Gauteng, police have also launched a manhunt for two suspects after  41-year-old Sergeant Leka Maja was shot and killed during the tracing of illegal firearms in Mamelodi  on Thursday, 08 June 2023. Three suspects were fatally wounded and four pistols as well as three rifles were siezed.

The member was attached to the Tactical Operations Management Section within the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation(DPCI) and had 14 years service. At the home of the member in Mamelodi east, General Masemola was joined by the National Head of the DPCI, Lieutenant General Godfrey Lebeya. General Masemola says the SAPS has declared war against criminals who attack and kill police officers.

“This is a war that has been called by criminals, we cannot come second. We cannot co-rule with criminals, communities have put their trust in us and we need to fight back to ensure the safety and security of our communities and police officers. We are going to respond accordingly until we win this fight against criminals. The families of these officers are looking up to us to ensure that those that are behind these killings and attacks face the full might of the law”, said General Masemola.

The SAPS has set aside R25 million to enhance the safety and security of all police service points for this financial year. The organisation also continues to implement its Police Safety Strategy to ensure the safety and security of police officers on and off duty.