Organisations urge Cele to prioritise police safety after Ngcobo tragedy

Senior SAPS members are joined by Ngcobo residents at a memorial service in honour of five officers gunned down in the Eastern Cape community last week.

FILE: New Police Minister Bheki Cele. Picture: AFP.

NGCOBO - Organisations representing police officials have urged newly appointed Police Minister Bheki Cele to prioritise interventions boosting their safety.

Cele has arrived at a memorial service for five officers gunned down in the Ngcobo police attack in the Eastern Cape last week.

Senior South African Police Service members are joined by Ngcobo residents at a memorial service in honour of five officers.

Bereaved family members occupy the front row in the Ngcobo Methodist Church on Tuesday afternoon.

Many speakers have taken to the podium, slamming the hostile manner in which police are perceived in communities.

Deputy President of the South African Policing Union Tumelo Mogodiseng says Minister Cele's promotion to the police ministry should coincide with securing the safety of police officers.

Parliament's police portfolio committee says at least six attacks at other police stations have been registered within the last two years.

Meanwhile, a fifth suspect in the Ngcobo police murders has appeared in court on Tuesday morning.

Forty-five-year-old Phumzile Mhlatywa has been charged with murder, attempted murder, housebreaking, robbery and malicious damage to property.

Mhlatywa, along with two of the other four accused, will apply for bail when they appear in the dock next month.

National Prosecuting Authority regional spokesperson Luxolo Tyali said: β€œHe will be appearing alongside his co-accused on 8 March. He has indicated that he would like to be released on bail so he will be doing his bail application on the day and as the State we are going to oppose bail against him.”