Police officers attacked in ambush
National police spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo said three constables were patrolling near a shopping centre in Esikhaleni (Esikhawini) near Richards Bay when they came under fire.
Naidoo said two of the constables were shot, while a third escaped unharmed.
“The female was shot in the face just under her eye and in the abdomen. She’s in a very serious condition in ICU while the other officer was shot in the right arm,” he said.
Naidoo said because the incident took place in the early hours of the morning, they did not know how many assailants there were because it was dark.
“The shots were fired at them as they were patrolling, so we don’t have that information. The members were just patrolling. They suddenly came under fire. They heard a scream, then there were shots fired at the vehicle. That’s all we have at this stage,” he said.
Naidoo said no arrests had been made yet.
In the past three months, a number of police officers have been attacked and three have been killed in KZN.
In January, Constable Siphelele Cele was shot and killed, when he and another member stopped a suspicious looking vehicle in Durban.
Naidoo said by virtue of the work they did, because they dealt with criminals, they are dealing with people that had no respect for the law, no respect for human life and, therefore, each time their police officers put on their uniform, they were putting themselves in harm’s way.
He said they have been asking communities to rally behind them, to show solidarity that they can fight off criminals and work together to stop attacks on police from continuing.
“It seems that despite the work that has been done, the arrests that we’ve been making, the training, the measures we put in place to mitigate risks of attacks on police officers, despite all of that, criminals are still continuing to attack our police officers and we are there just to protect the community, to protect the lives and property of the community,” said Naidoo.
The provincial secretary of the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru), Nthabeleng Molefe said they were very concerned by the attacks on and killing of police officers, which had become common.
“Instead of it decreasing, it is increasing exponentially,” said Molefe.
“However, we say police should be alert at all times. If their lives or the community is in danger, they should be able to protect themselves with their guns because they should not die with their guns in their hands.”
She also urged communities to work with the police in arresting criminals.