Police minister Bheki Cele said on Sunday police should retaliate when confronted by criminals who often don’t hesitate to shoot and kill.
The minister was speaking at the funeral service of slain Col Beauty Marivate, who was station commander at Elukwatini police station.
Marivate succumbed to gunshots after a gang fired at her police vehicle during a response to a supermarket robbery on December 30 last year.
Cele said her death should anger all South Africans, and called on communities and police to work jointly in response to the scourge of crime.
“This killing must anger all of us as a nation. It is through our collective condemnation of such cruel acts that communities can know the dangers of harbouring criminals who won’t hesitate to get rid of the people who protect and serve them.
“Police must respond decisively to these callous acts and ensure the death of one of their own is never in vain. Colonel Marivate was a skilled investigator who championed social justice so it’s important that all the thugs who robbed this community of a leader are found,” said Cele.
The minister said police would not “cogovern with criminals” and vowed to get to the bottom of the case.
“The president has made it clear the lives of criminals must be made hard, and these words have re-energis for criminals.
“However police can’t do this alone. The men and women in blue who daily put their lives on the line to ensure our safety need you to be their eyes and ears on the ground. It is through such active and consistent community policing partnerships that criminals can wake up to the reality that crime doesn’t pay but will instead land them in jail or an early grave.”
Eight suspects have been arrested in connection with Marivate’s murder. Cele said police were following up on leads that could lead to more arrests.