'Democracy gave us rights as cops'

Western Cape Police Commissioner Arno Lamoer looks back at the historic 1994 elections.

FILE: Western Cape Police Commissioner Arno Lamoer. Picture: Regan Thaw/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Western Cape Police Commissioner Arno Lamoer says police officers of today serve their communities and not their political masters.

As the country marks 20 years since the first democratic elections, South Africans are using the opportunity to reflect on the past two decades.

Lamoer who has been in police service for 34 years says during apartheid black officers were not allowed to speak up to their employers.

"Democracy gave us rights as police officers because we became the people's police. We are no longer the police of the state alone."

He remembers the historic 1994 elections.

"We were not surprised but we were very encouraged when everything went smoothly. I was at Manenberg at one of the polling stations and the late Madiba walked in there and that is one of the moments that will stay with me forever."

Meanwhile, fellow South Africans have taken to social networks to share their memories of the first democratic elections.