President Cyril Ramaphosa says the SAPS National Commemoration Day should serve to not only pay tribute to the fallen men and women in blue but also to mobilise society against the killing of officers.
The President said no society can remain silent when criminals have clearly declared war on the police.
“Our men and women in blue represent the authority of the State and any attack on them is a direct attack on the State and an attack on the people. If criminals bother to read history, they must know that no one has ever defeated the people.
“Those responsible for police killings, who have not yet been arrested, must know that wherever they are, they will be found and they will face the full might of the law,” the President said.
President Ramaphosa was delivering the keynote address at the South African Police Service (SAPS) Commemoration Day at the Union Buildings in Tshwane on Sunday.
The event celebrated the lives of SAPS members who had fallen in the line of duty from April 2021 until March this year.
This year, 33 police officers’ names were engraved on the national memorial wall where the President and bereaved family members laid wreaths.
President Ramaphosa said among those who were being honoured, some were targeted by criminals for their firearms, others were involved in shootouts with criminals, and others were killed by reckless drivers who failed to stop when pulled over.
“Let us spare a thought for our police men and women and what they must feel each time they leave their homes to enforce the law.
“Yet, even knowing the risks, our officers continue bravely and relentlessly, on a daily basis and with a stern determination to prioritise the safety and security of the people of this country.”
President Ramaphosa urged the Police Ministry to drive the process of ensuring that SAPS is adequately resourced to prevent, combat and investigate police killings.
He said all the perpetrators of these attacks on police must be brought to book.
“If we are to win the war against crime and police killings, we need to build healthy, stronger relations between the police and the communities they serve. In any community where crime happens, somebody always knows something. Some of our people remain silent for fear of victimisation.
“It is for this reason that we are always striving to make it easier for citizens to anonymously report crime or suspicious activities.”
The President further urged communities to take responsibility for each other’s safety, adding that the fight against crime cannot be won by the police on their own.
“As we remember our fallen heroes and heroines, let us salute all police officers for the love they have for our country and its residents, and for their patriotic spirit and resilience in the face of brazen criminals.
“Let us demonstrate that we value our law enforcement officers who make a deliberate choice to take up policing as a calling rather than a mere job,” the President said.
The President urged the country to avenge the deaths of the slain officers by making sure that “we fulfil their dream of a society that is safe and secure, where all people live in peace”.
Source: South African Government News Agency