Phiyega: police are not trigger-happy

Top cop Riah Phiyega says the term ‘shoot to kill’ does not define how police do their work.

Top cop Riah Phiyega says the term ‘shoot to kill’ does not define how police do their work. Picture: Eyewitness News.

PRETORIA - National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega on Tuesday dismissed suggestions that Monday's fatal shooting in Hillbrow, Johannesburg, is a symptom of the so-called 'shoot to kill' policy, a term coined during her predecessor Bheki Cele's term.

In a case of mistaken identity, one policeman was shot dead and another wounded by their colleagues.

A third officer sustained a gunshot wound to the neck after being shot by a robber.

An indignant Phiyega said the term 'shoot to kill' did not exist in any police manual or law.

"We are not trigger-happy people. All we do is enforce the law and to ensure that we have public order and keep South Africans safe.

She said the tragedy appeared to have been an honest mistake by good policemen.

"What you have you seen yesterday could have been a tragedy of good intentions. The police were agile and tried to give backup to a situation for which they were called for."

The commissioner said the Independent Police Investigative Directorate was investigating the matter.

Earlier, Eyewitness News had reported that it was a police constable who was killed during the shootout with an armed criminal in Hillbrow.

It has emerged that two other officers, who were not wearing their police uniform, were shot by other policemen, who thought they were the criminals who had shot the first officer.

One of these two officers died while the other is receiving treatment in hospital.