Durban — Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) members are expected to picket outside the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday to raise their concerns about the rising number of SAPS officers’ killings.
This march follows an incident involving an off-duty policeman, Constable Thabani Gwala, who was shot dead last week in a road rage incident.
The deceased stationed at the Pietermaritzburg Public Order Policing (POP) was allegedly shot dead by a 39-year-old suspect who is believed to be a salesman, after an argument on Oribi Road.
Asad Haniff Ramjan, who is linked to the murder, is expected to appear for a bail hearing.
Popcru KwaZulu-Natal secretary Nthabeleng Molefe said the union is calling on all SAPS members to picket and raise their grievances about the police officers who are attacked by brazen criminals.
“We will gather at the magistrate’s court, where members of the unions will express their anger about the senseless continuous killings of police officers. It’s time we take this upon ourselves and table our concerns to the highest authorities.
“We are under attack while the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) is protecting these dangerous criminals. The union is against the bail application of the accused who shot our member. We urge authorities to revisit some of the criminal procedure acts,” said Molefe.
She said it is becoming a norm in the country to see police officers being attacked by criminals. She also urged the community to support them by joining the picket.
“We are not the only ones endangered, community members are also not safe if police officers keep dying. If we stay united and fight this together, we can combat crime in this country,” added the KZN secretary.
One of the recent cases of officers being killed includes a POP officer from Empangeni, Constable Cele, who died on Thursday while on duty.
KZN police spokesperson Colonel Robert Netshiunda confirmed that Empangeni station is investigating a murder case of an officer who was gunned down.
According to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate’s (Ipid) annual report for the 2021/22 financial year, 5 295 cases against police and metro officers were investigated between April 2021 and March 2022.
The five case classifications that contribute 93% (4 908) of complaints were 3 407 of assault, 744 for discharge of a firearm, 410 were deaths as a result of police action, 223 were deaths in police custody and 124 for other criminal matters and misconduct.
The directorate said it secured 239 disciplinary convictions with 53 officers dismissed from service.
Ipid national spokesperson Robbie Raburabu said it is unfortunate that Ipid is being blamed for doing what it is mandated to do, which is to conduct investigations on allegations against the police.
“Ipid is obliged to investigate such matters independently and impartially and hand the docket to the prosecutors for a decision once the investigations are done,” said Raburabu.
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