File picture: Supplied
The Hawks have launched a manhunt for suspects following the fatal shooting of a police officer on a farm near Stellenbosch.

The 31-year-old officer, together with fellow members of the Stellenbosch crime prevention unit, went to the farm after receiving information that a house robbery would take place there on Wednesday night.

Police spokesperson FC van Wyk said while the unit was patrolling the area, a group of people was spotted.

While pursuing the group at about 9.50pm the officer was shot and killed.

“It was then established that the house robbery was indeed committed at 8pm at a farm near Vlottenburg. The suspects managed to evade arrest and are being sought,” Wyk said.

The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) is probing the shooting to ascertain whether or not the officer was mistakenly shot by his colleagues.

Ipid spokesperson Moses Dlamini said unconfirmed reports had been received that the officer might have been shot by his colleagues, and a preliminary investigation was being conducted at this stage.

“Ipid investigators on standby received a call at 03.14 (yesterday) reporting that a police member was shot and killed by an unknown suspect who fled the scene at a farm near Stellenbosch. SAPS members discharged their firearms but none of the suspects was injured. A police officer who was in pursuit of the robbery suspects was shot and killed by said suspects.

“We are, therefore, conducting a preliminary investigation to determine if the discharge of police firearms resulted in any injury or death. If it is confirmed, the Ipid will take over the investigation and run with it until it is concluded. The post-mortem will be held (today) and will be attended by Ipid investigators,” Dlamini said.

The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) urged police officers to act “decisively” when their lives were under threat.

Popcru spokesperson Richard Mamabolo said: “Blatant attacks on police officers go beyond mere criminality, and threaten the very foundations of our democracy, as communities are increasingly living in fear. This trend is becoming a norm, and needs to be urgently stopped.”

Anyone with any information about the incident can anonymously contact Crime Stop on 08600 10111 or SMS Crime Line on 32211.

CAPE TIMES