File picture: Skyler Reid
Pretoria – Acting National Police Commissioner Lt-Gen Khomotso Phahlane on Saturday urged communities to continue to support the South African Police Service (SAPS) by condemning the callous attacks and murders of police officers. 

This follows the murder of two officers in Gauteng on Friday. In the first incident, an officer was fatally wounded on duty by unknown gunmen in Soshanguve in Pretoria. 

"At the time of the incident the deceased and his colleague were conducting stop-and-search crime prevention duties as part of Operation Paseka when they were attacked and shot, resulting in one of us [police] paying the highest price in the execution of his duties. His colleague was wounded and is recovering in a local hospital," Phahlane said. 

In another incident an off-duty police officer was shot dead in Soweto in Johannesburg. The circumstances surrounding his death were still under investigation. "As the South African Police Service we wish to express our deepest condolences to the families, friends, and colleagues of the deceased members," Phahlane said. 

Anyone with information that would assist the SAPS in apprehending those responsible for the attacks and murders was encouraged to come forward. Anyone with information could anonymously call the Crime Stop hotline on 08600-10111 or SMS Crime Line anonymously on 32211. "We must all work together to prevent, combat, and ensure a thorough investigation of these and all other serious and violent crimes," he said. 

Gauteng police commissioner Lt-Gen Deliwe de Lange and her team were investigating two cases of murder and one of attempted murder. "We call upon all communities to work with law enforcement agencies, in particular the South African Police Service, in the fight against crime and the creation of safer communities. Every police officer killed leaves the community more vulnerable; together we must take a firm stand against police killings,” Phahlane said. 

In the 2016/17 financial year 57 police officers lost their lives – 31 of them were killed while on duty. The SAPS remained committed to the implementation of strategies and plans aimed at combating crime across South Africa. 

"We are also monitoring plans to even further improve the training of our police officers. There is an enhanced focus on our specialised units, firearm handling, and ensuring that officers who respond to crime scenes are fully equipped," he said.