May 23, 2011
Commissioner warns killers not to sleep at night, they will be caught.
National Police Commissioner General Bheki Cele jetted into Cape Town yesterday to commiserate with the families of the murdered Kraaifontein officers - and delivered a stern warning to their murderers and the community.
Standing at the murder scene with the dried blood of Warrant Officer Gershwin Matthee and Constable Cannon Cloete still visible, Cele said: "Tell those criminals not to sleep at night. We will catch them unless they tie heavy stones around their necks and drown themselves in the sea.
"Criminals are known by the community, they don't just come with the rain."
On Sunday morning, Matthee and Cloete responded to a call from the Wallacedene township when they were shot in the head. Their deaths brings the total of murdered officers for this year to 36.
Cele said he understood 88 officers were killed in the past financial year and the year before 107 were murdered. The killing of police was a national crisis.
He visited the families of Matthee and Cloete in the nearby suburbs of Northpine and Bernadino Heights.
"There must be a big call. Hands off our police officers. Just hands off. I think the time has come for everybody to shout, 'Hands off our police officers,'" said Cele.
Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union general secretary Nkosinathi Theledi said: "Whether the statistics are rising or declining, the point is how should we cap those figures with immediate effect. We come from an apartheid era where police were seen as the enemy. In this new dispensation, they should be seen as those who protect. WHAT A LOAD OF CRAP!!! Unfortunately not everyone has accepted this." EC Woman beaten up by police
Theledi called for stronger interaction between communities and police to grow their relationship. "We are shocked by the police killings."
Experts such as Gareth Newman of the Institute of Security Studies reportedly called yesterday for the national task team to be brought back to investigate attacks on and killing of police officers.
Police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Andre Traut said no arrests had been made in the Kraaifontein killings. "At the moment we are following up on leads and interviewing as many people as possible," he said.
Captain Sidney Bongani Hlengwa and Constable Zamikhaya Patrick Hlangulela were shot dead in a raid last Thursday on illegal liquor outlet at Creighton, southern KwaZulu-Natal. A colleague, Sergeant Aaron Gcaleka, is in a critical condition in hospital.
Norman Khathi, 67, the tavern owner and alleged gunman, briefly appeared in the Ixopo Magistrate's Court yesterday.
He allegedly shot the officers, who asked to see his liquor licence. The case was postponed to June 7.