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Key note remarks of support by the Deputy Minister of Police at the joint memorial service of the late Constables Buthelezi, Seolwane and Hlabisa

Programme Director,
In Remembrance of all Police Officers who died safeguarding our Democratic Constitution,
The Families of Buthelezi, Seolwane, and Hlabisa
MEC for Community Safety in Gauteng,
All Public Representatives present here,
National Commissioner of Police and Your Top Management,
All Core Stakeholders of the SAPS (CPFs, Unions, Civil Society, etc),
Police Officers,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Yesterday, the number one citizen of this country, President Jacob Zuma, visited the family of the slain Metro Police in Katlehong, Mr. Simon Mabatamela, who was brutally killed at Rosettenville Junction Shopping Complex in Johannesburg, during armed robbery, in the full view of a CCTV camera. The visit of the President means THREE things:

The President and his people have had enough of these brutal ambushes and killings of our law enforcement members; and calls for law enforcement officers to defend themselves when attacked by criminals, within the ambit of the law.

And, as the Police Leadership, we agree with that call!

All lives matter. And, the President calls for our people to work together to bring peace and safety to communities. There must not be a disparity in response when a police officer kills an unarmed person and when a person kills a cop. The message that must be said by all of us, cops and civilians: violence towards police and people is unacceptable. Prejudice and stereotyping any kind of violence will not serve any good purpose; it will rather escalate the problem!

We must all be vocal, visible, and outraged, when we condemn the killing of police officers, for, police officers are very unique civil servants. While challenges exist in our police service, but the individual policemen and women who have chosen to serve their country and protect its inhabitants deserve our respect. They place their lives on the line every day to serve and protect, to ensure the safety of our communities.

But, if our police officers continue to be killed like flies, we must also then expect our safety to be compromised. It is obvious then that things cannot be done the same old way. Something drastic must be done, and very fast.

I am nevertheless pleased to have read in the information note that I received, that the SAPS Management has just developed a Comprehensive Police Safety Strategy, and it is about to be implemented to strengthen and ensure the safety of all members.

General Phiyega, let us then hasten to implement this strategy, for we do not want an escalation of statistics next year. Because, this time last year 2014, we had lost 47 police officers, but this number has increased to 54 this year 2015.

Our strategic implementation plan must always intend to treat heinous criminals as outcasts, who must neither have place in the society nor peace in their cells! They must be treated as cockroaches!

With these few words, I would like to convey my sincerest heartfelt condolences to the families of all the police officers we lost this year, particularly to the families of Holz, Buthelezi, Seolwane, Hlabisa, and Mabatamela, who were killed in line of duty in the same week!

Our thoughts and prayers go out particularly to the spouses and children of these police officers during this incredibly difficult time.

Our whole Government as led by President Zuma, is grateful every day for the good men and women in blue, who continue to safeguard this nation. We continue to pray for their safety.

I thank you all.


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