‘SA cops are dying on the streets like it’s a war zone’

Six police officers have been killed over the past seven days bringing to 54 the number killed this year.

FILE: President Jacob Zuma. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG - President Jacob Zuma says police officers are dying on the country's streets like it's a war zone.

The president was speaking in Katlehong after visiting the family of slain Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) officer Simon Mabatamela, who was shot dead in a robbery in Rosettenville last week.

Zuma says the number of police officers killed this year demonstrates the abnormality of the crime situation in South Africa.

He was shot dead while stumbling across a robbery in progress at the Junction Mall in Rosettenville, last week.

Last week alone, six police officers were murdered bringing to 54 the number murdered since the start of the year.

The president says he's deeply concerned by the spate of cop killings.

"You could almost think that there is war, where you could count so many people who are being killed. I think it indicates the abnormality of the security situation."

He says government will act strongly against such criminals.

"That is a serious indication of undermining the authority of the state, particularly if you attack the police, you are attacking the state."

Zuma says more must be done to remove illegal firearms from the streets.

It's understood two suspects walked into Pick n Pay and took a security guard's firearm before making off with a money box.

The suspects apparently panicked and shot the officer.

Police said Mabatamela, who was in his JMPD in uniform, had entered the store to buy something when the robber shot and killed him.

#ZumaCops NatCom Riah Phiyega has arrived. pic.twitter.com/S15oYJTAbk