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Johannesburg - Gauteng police vowed on Wednesday to improve their relationships with local communities in the fight against crime, during National Police Day celebrations in Johannesburg.
Despite the recent “shocking” implication of eight police officers in the death of taxi driver Mido Macia, police sought to reinforce their efforts to provide safety for all, spokesman Lt-Col Lungelo Dlamini said.
“At the same time, police continue to applaud those members who give dignity to the blue uniform and remember the sacrifices of those who lost their lives while providing the safety for South African citizens.”
He said the police sought to further reduce crime, provide improved quality in service and deal with corruption within the service.
Strengthening partnerships with communities would help the police deal with crimes against women and children, drug trafficking and other violent and serious crimes.
The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) honoured police for their service.
“These members often find themselves at the brink of death as they go beyond the call of duty to ensure that we can all feel safe in our homes and public spaces,” Popcru said in a statement.
“We therefore ask South Africans to take a moment on this National Police Day to think of those who stop criminals on their tracks and fight hard to reclaim our country from the clutches of crime.”
At the celebrations at Johannesburg Stadium, Gauteng community safety MEC Faith Mazibuko said the police were the face of the government and a barometer of service delivery.
“Communities demand that you serve them whether you are happy or sad, or woke up on the wrong side of the bed,” she said.
“As police, you are the face of government and the protectors of our communities.”
She acknowledged the good work the police had done, often in thankless circumstances, to change Gauteng's image as a “gangsters' paradise”.
“Protect our women and children. Put rapists behind bars.... Police, please help our communities fight this (drug) scourge.
“Criminals must know that, in Gauteng, their days are numbered.” - Sapa