Fallen police officers remembered

Commissioner Riah Phiyega called on South Africans to speak out against cop killings.

The children and widows of police officers killed in the line of duty at the Union Buildings on 07 September, 2014. Picture: Lesego Ngobeni/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega has called on South Africans to speak out against police killings, in memory of those who died in the line of duty.

Phiyega addressed the South African Police Service on National Commemoration Day at the Union Buildings on Sunday.

National Commemoration Day was designed to commemorate the lives of officers who were killed on duty in the past year.

The commissioner says the nation should celebrate the courage and dedication of fallen officers and condemn the killing of police officers.

"We cannot remain silent when those who are out there, risking their lives to protect us, are killed. Let us speak out, let us talk about these heinous crimes, and let us do so in memory of those who have already died fighting for us."

At the same time, the families of police officers who died in the line of duty say the annual commemoration ceremony held in their honour should serve to highlight the scourge of police killings in South Africa.

Jenna-Lee Naidoo, whose father was killed in the line of duty in the past year, says the commemoration event is important for the families to find closure.

"It makes people more aware of police killings and aware of crime. I think it was a good commemoration and everything went well. We're really proud of the police officers who lost their lives."

Widow Dudu, wife to Constable Bheki Thobela, says the commemoration event proves police officers who died while at work are heroes of the nation.

"Hearing his name here was really something. At least I know he was a South African hero and he died in the line of duty. This shows that the state cares about them as well; that they're not just going to die and be forgotten."

Meanwhile, Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko has called on ordinary members of society to submit anonymous tip-offs to police about any suspected criminal activity in their communities.

"As a nation, we must stand together and say 'no more'. It is the duty of every law abiding citizen who knows or suspects that a police killer is living in their neighbourhood, to blow the whistle - even if they do so anonymously."