The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (POPCRU) says it is distraught over the continuous reports of police killings in the country.

The union’s remarks come just hours after two police officers were gunned down during a routine Crime Prevention operation in the early hours of this morning in Bloekombos, Kraaifontein, in the Western Cape.

Their firearms and a cellphone are missing, while nine cartridges were found on the scene.

“These senseless killings take place just after the cowardice shooting of two Pietermaritzburg police officers, Sergeants Makhosazane Mdlangathi and Mfikelwa Mtolo died in a hail of bullets last Saturday after being ambushed by gunmen, while another officer, Constable Ndlovu, who is being buried today, was also fatally wounded after responding to a domestic abuse complaint in Chatsworth.”

Police Minister Bheki Cele is attending Ndlovu’s funeral service:

Poprcu says police killings can no longer be overlooked.

The union’s Richard Mamabolo says communities also need to play an active role to ensure safety in their neighbourhoods.

“Part of the problem can be attributed to the challenges of understaffing and the uneven allocation of resources to these men and women in blue; therefore having to stretch their operations across a broader number of community populations in smaller groups, increasing their likelihood of being attacked.

These and other escalating violent trends against our men and women in blue have not only adversely affected individual police officers, but are meant at generating fear and lawlessness throughout our society. These attempts must be nipped in the bud, and the best possible way can be through working on improving community-policing relations,” Mamabolo says.

Last week, two police officers were attacked in Gqeberha and the Hawks are investigating cases of attempted murder, vehicle hijacking, and robbery.

Popcru is urging police officers to remain vigilant and to act decisively when under attack.

“We lastly call on the South African Police Service (SAPS) management to urgently kick-start the process of restructuring and for the amendment of the Criminal Procedure Act so it allows police officers to defend themselves in line with the law,” Mamabolo says.

The union has also reiterated its call for police killings to be considered as high treason.

During the 2019/2020 period, at least 77 police officers were killed. Some were on duty while others were off at the time of the killings.