The National Commissioner of the South African Police Service, General Bheki Cele, has strongly condemned the killing of another two police officers, Warrant Officer Gurswin Matthee (39) and Student Constable Cannon Cloete (23), taking the total for 2011 to 36.
Cele strongly condemned the killings. “This is indeed a crisis, the rate at which our officers are being callously gunned down is extremely alarming.” The two law enforcers were murdered on duty early on Sunday morning in the Wallacedene informal settlement near Kraaifontein in Cape Town.
“The members were at the corner of Pedro and Boesak Streets when they were confronted by armed suspects and shot dead before their service pistols were taken,” Cele said in a statement. “In just a matter of three days, four members of the South African Police Service have been killed and a sergeant remains in hospital after being seriously wounded in Creighton, KwaZulu-Natal on Thursday.”
In that incident, police officers from Creighton raided a property in order to carry out a search. The owner of the property, who was asked to produce a liquor licence opened fire on the police members fatally wounding a Captain Hlengwa and a Constable Hlangulela and injuring a Sergeant Aron Siyabonga Gcaleka.
Subsequently, a 67 year old suspect was arrested on charges of murder and attempted murder and a 9mm pistol in his possession has been seized.
The South African Policing Union (SAPU), meanwhile, also condemned the murders in “the strongest words possible”. General secretary Oscar Skommere noted in a statement the killings were “totally unacceptable and can never be tolerated. Therefore SAPU calls for an urgent national summit to look into this matter. It is unfortunate that a large number of officers are already dead whilst we have not even reached the half year mark. In 2010 we buried 107 police officers whose lives were cut short by heartless criminals.”