Cape Town - Eight police officers have been killed so far this year in the Western Cape, while 4 578 officers have been injured in the line of duty over the past two years.
This emerged from questions in the legislature when Community Safety MEC Dan Plato told DA MPL and community safety standing committee chairman Mark Wiley that these were the latest figures from SAPS.
This comes after the death of Douglas Moses last month; he was shot while on patrol in Philippi.
Three more policemen were killed last month in Hout Bay and Khayelitsha. Phindiwe Nikani and Mandisi Nduku from Hout Bay were gunned down in Madiba Square in Imizamo Yethu. Nikani died at the scene and Nduku died in hospital.
Their deaths came days after metro police officer Mphumelelo Xakekile was shot while ticketing a taxi on Mew Way in Khayelitsha, sparking widespread outrage.
City authorities offered a R50 000 reward for information leading to the arrest of Xakekile’s killers.
On the statistics given to Plato, provincial police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Andre Traut told the Cape Argus the police could not give a detailed account of the injuries “for obvious reasons”.
Confirming the figures, Traut said: “It is imperative to mention that the injuries sustained by police officers are not limited to those who were attacked while on or off duty, but a combination of incidents and occurrences.”
Various measures were implemented to prevent police officers from being attacked while on duty, he said.
“Members are issued with bulletproof vests and it is ensured that they are operationally ready when they are deployed for duty.”
Provincial police chief Lieutenant-General Arno Lamoer has been adamant since the killings that officers would remain focused and committed to their duties and would not allow criminals to take over the country.
Last year, more than 50 police officers were killed across South Africa. This figure is disputed between researchers and SAPS, but it is acknowledged that it may be higher.
Last year, current affairs television show Carte Blanche spoke to a senior researcher at the Institute for Security Studies, Andrew Faull, who said: “[Police killings are] a declining trend, both in terms of total numbers of police officials being killed and… as a proportion of police per hundred thousand in the organisation.
“We are seeing a sudden spike in media attention, we are seeing a sudden spike in police management attention, but we are not seeing a spike in the total number of figures.”
In 1994, 265 police officers were killed, according to the SA Institute for Race Relations figures. In 2000, this number dropped to 178, and in 2010 it had fallen to 93, according to police statistics.