Durban — Police Minister Bheki Cele said criminals must be hunted down like rats and swept out of communities.
Cele was speaking at the funeral of Warrant Officer Sthembiso Mazibuko, held at the KwaMashu community hall on Sunday.
Mazibuko, 40, a member of the National Intervention Unit (NIU), died during a shootout with suspects at a house in C Section in Ntuzuma last week. The Mazibuko family, police officers, and some community members could not hold back their tears as they paid their last tribute to Sthembiso.
Police officers sung emotional songs, one of them, asiphelelanga, meaning one of our own is missing.
One of the saddest moments was when Sthembiso’s one-year-old son was seen constantly touching his father’s picture that was placed near his coffin during the memorial service.
Cele issued a command to the police, saying the criminals must be swept away. Police must be there for the community.
“I am making a call that all these criminals must be squeezed and be hunted down like rats to create peaceful communities. Police must avenge themselves against criminals and criminality.
“After you bury this young man you must go back to find answers. Those who killed him must not find peace ... After this funeral go and hunt them down,” said Cele.
He said it was the first time in his nine years of service in the police department that he had had to bury an NIU member who had been killed by criminals.
“I demand that this should be the last time,’’ he said.
Cele also urged the community to work with the police as they came from their families.
Speaking on behalf of the Mazibuko family, Jabulani Mazibuko said the family had lost a very brave man.
“We have lost a very brave, good, and hard-working man. It will take us time to heal from this. What also worries us is that criminals do as they please in communities and they are professional, they are not just random criminals,” Jabulani said.
Mazibuko, who was initially a member of the SANDF, served in the police department for over 17 years.
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