Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma promised the family of slain Joburg metro police officer Simon Mabatamela that police would not rest until his killers were arrested.
Zuma paid the family a visit in their home in Katlehong, Ekurhuleni, on Monday.
National police commissioner General Riah Phiyega, Gauteng commissioner General Lesetja Mothiba, Gauteng Premier David Makhura and Joburg mayor Parks Tau also visited the family.
“We are here to sympathise with the family and share the pain because, as families, they feel the pain more than us. But also to express our own shock about what is happening,” said Zuma.
Since the beginning of this year, more than 50 police officers had been killed, Zuma said, adding that killing of officers was a direct threat to the state.
“You could almost think there is war. The government will need to think very hard about the laws to protect the police.”
Zuma said criminals pull the trigger without warning, placing the police in a more vulnerable position.
However, the president’s words did very little to console Mabatamela’s wife Selloane, who was killed last Monday in Rosettenville, Joburg, during a cash heist. She said the death of her husband left a void.
“I really do not know how I will take care of our four children by myself. They need money for school. Some are already in university… the cost will be a huge burden.”
Mabatamela’s 95-year-old mother Elizabeth, who lives in Ga-Maja in Limpopo, also depended on him financially.
Said Phiyega: “In the last financial year, we have lost about 86 police officers; 34 were killed while at work and the balance were killed at home.”
Phiyega, who is fighting to keep her job, refused to comment on anything outside of the police deaths.
She said police work was risky.
“The work we do I call 3D: it’s dangerous, it’s difficult and it’s demanding.”
She urged the community to work with the police to report criminals.
The family of Njabulo Buthelezi, a police officer killed in Vosloorus last week, were also present.
His brother Melusi said: “My brother loved working for the police, he has worked for more than 11 years. It is very sad that he was killed doing his job.”