‘Every situation is potentially life-threatening’

Riah Phiyega says personal safety is controlled by members, who must employ their training while on duty.

South African National police commissioner Riah Phiyega. Picture: AFP.

PRETORIA - National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega says she is horrified by the latest increase of police killings and is urging every man and woman in blue to treat every situation as potentially life-threatening.

So far this year, 53 police officers have been killed, 28 of them while off-duty.

In the latest incident this morning a policeman was gunned down in Jeppestown, bringing to four the number of members killed this week alone.

This week, constables died in shootouts with robbers in Tembisa and Vosloorus, while a Hawks official was stabbed to death while changing flat tyres on the M2 highway in Cape Town.

Phiyega says personal safety is controlled by the individual members, who must employ their training and equipment and work closely with their colleagues while on duty.

The police's Vishnu Naidoo said, "This has been one of the worst periods where police officers are killed since the last similar spate of attacks of officers. We have put some strict measures in place in terms of conducting their duties."

Naidoo says the police are prioritising investigations into the murdered police officers to ensure sentences handed down serve as deterrents.

Meanwhile, police confirmed five people were arrested following the murder of one of their members in Jeppestown this morning.

Three of the suspects were also wounded in the exchange and have been taken to hospital under police guard.

Four pistols were recovered from the vehicle and an AK47 was found after police raided the Jeppestown hostel.


Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) said the spate of recent police murders is an attack on the country's democracy and the perpetrators must be dealt with harshly.

Popcru's Richard Mamabolo said the murder of police officers has gone beyond mere criminality, and threatens the very foundations South Africa is built on.

"It's come to a stage where criminals are undermining police and this undermines our democratic institutions and which are meant to safe keep our country."

Naidoo added that training was improved following a study of the circumstances in which members were being killed.