On the eve of National Police Day, an off-duty police officer was killed in a hail of bullets along with his friend in Khayelitsha.
The 39-year-old cop came under attack in Solomon Tshuku Street at Site C on Friday night at about 8.30pm.
Police spokesperson Malcolm Pojie said Khayelitsha police had opened a double murder case.
“Khayelitsha police are investigating the circumstances leading to the death of two men in their mid-thirties, of whom one is reported to be a police official.
“Both succumbed to gunshot wounds to their bodies in hospital. The motive for these killings is subject to ongoing investigation,” said Pojie.
According to police oversight and community safety MEC Reagen Allen, the 39-year-old was attached to the Cape Town Central police station and also worked at the court.
Allen said he was saddened to learn of the fatal shooting.
“A friend of the officer was also shot and killed during the incident. Both passed away in hospital.
“SAPS is currently seeking three unknown male suspects who escaped on foot.
“I express my sincere condolences to the family, friends, loved ones and colleagues of both victims. It is particularly sad that we had to lose another officer of the law in this manner,” said Allen.
He said his stance remained that an attack on any law enforcement officer, including the police, was an attack on the state. “These men and women are the defenders of our country’s laws.
Perpetrators in this instance should face the relevant penalties,” he added.
The incident came as National Police Day, which observes the sacrifices men and women in blue continue to make, was commemorated.
According to police, 140 police officers have been killed on duty in the past four years, and nearly 10 off-duty cops were murdered between July and September.
“Our men and women in blue work tirelessly to hunt down dangerous criminals, remove illegal and unlicensed firearms, remove drugs off our streets and work hard to ensure successful convictions in court for perpetrators of crime.
“We urge communities to embrace our police officers and work together with them to stop the killing of our own. From January 2023 to date, 33 police officers were killed on duty.
These killings have to stop, and they can only stop if communities take a stand against them,” said national police commissioner Fannie Masemola.
Public Servants Association (PSA) general manager Reuben Maleka said while the day was to remember how law enforcement officers risked their lives every day it also highlighted how the sector continued to be plagued by challenges.
“Police Minister Bheki Cele admitted in Parliament last year that SAPS cannot meet the country’s policing demands.
“This is a worrying fact as the country attempts to attract investment and tourism for economic development and job creation. It further places undue pressure on members, who are suffering from being understaffed and poorly resourced.”