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Suspect arrested for murder of two Western Cape police officers

By Rebecca Pitt 28 February 2021

(Photo: Vincent Cruywagen)

The killing of two policemen at the weekend in the Western Cape comes just a week after the killing of two police officers in Pietermaritzburg.

Two officers carrying out routine patrolling in Phumla Street in Bloekombos, near Kraaifontein in the Western Cape, were ambushed, robbed of their firearms, and killed during the early hours of 28 February.

At the time of writing, one suspect had been arrested following a widespread search.

The Sunday morning murders come a week after two Pietermaritzburg officers, sergeants Makhosazane Mdlangathi and Mfikelwa Mtolo, were also ambushed and killed in the line of duty. And the killings came on the day that Constable Mfihloyakhe Ndlovu, who was fatally wounded when responding to a domestic abuse complaint two weeks ago, was buried.

“If they [the criminals] are attacking police officers, they are attacking the state,” said SAPS spokesperson Brenda Muridili.

By September 2020, 40 police officers had been killed while on duty.

These figures have undoubtedly increased since then, the spokesperson for the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru), Richard Mamabolo, said.

Not enough officers

South Africa has about 187,000 police officers, 40% of whom are based in offices, said Mamabolo.

“We generally have a big problem in South Africa because of the number of police officers who have to look after [the] population,” said Mamabolo, adding that it is not unusual for five officers to render service to a community of 20,000 people.

“We are fighting these criminals, and we are [becoming] less and less officers and currently, we are not able to recruit because of Covid-19,” said Muridili. 

“We are losing police officers to retirement, to death due to Covid-19, natural causes of death, and now there are people who do this,” she said. 

The names of the police officers killed on Sunday had not been released by the time of publication. DM

 

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